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A Wave of Common Sense may be headed toward Buffalo: Breaching the cult-like policies of local police

Op/Ed by Chris Stevenson

chris_stevensonRecent national controversy regarding police chokeholds may be doing former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol J. Horne a favor.

At least it stands to make things easier for Ellicott District Councilman and President Pastor Darius Pridgen.

As some of you may be aware, the Buffalo Common Council is in the middle of revisiting the case that many around the city wanted to go away, as a feature of their usual Tuesday afternoon open session in the council chamber.

A breath of fresh air that will hopefully not prove to be as temporary as warm weather in December for this town.

Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of a long overdue breath of common sense.

Maybe contrary to many major cities, Buffalo is trying to go in the opposite direction when it comes to problem police.

Given the sudden national “black-crazy” climate of many law enforcement officers, and the resulting backlash of protests and riots due to recent outright refusal to indict two killer cops in Ferguson, Mo. and Stanton Island, Horne is looking pretty much ahead of her time right about now.

Light years ahead of her time.

In city government language, that means money; the kind of money saved when you avoid a huge lawsuit.

Saving a chokehold death the way former Officer Horne single-handedly did, means saving the city millions of dollars.

Horne’s style of policing may seem boring to many, but it saves dividends, and much easier to swallow is the relatively minuscule amount a full pension would cost local taxpayers by contrast.

The kind of money it must be taking to pay for Horne’s troubled nemesis, Greg Kwiatkowski (falsely portrayed as a hardworking stand-up cop by supporters who don’t live in Buffalo).

Here’s a guy who seemed to have done little else but endure a grueling, extreme-white-cop-immunity to staggering proportions, which would spark envy even from the likes of Darren Wilson, Justin Damico, Daniel Pantaleo, Daniel Andrew, and Stewart Ferrin, among other assorted rogue cops.

Were Kwiatkowski in their presence, he would be the envy of them, kind of a bad-cop god.

On the other hand, Greg is probably kicking himself for not joining the NYPD.

He would probably be a captain right now.

The hearing saw Annette Parker, a retired BPD officer whose own son was yet another Kwiatkowski victim a few years ago, having been shot in the leg by him with a BB gun, testifying on behalf of Horne.

It’s not that all of Kwiatkowski’s targets are innocent angels.

But, he couldn’t help but do something dumb in the midst of arresting them to prevent the focus from transferring to the suspect to himself.

Making matters worse was a small cabal of followers in several precincts (he was bounced to other precincts after each of his mishaps and melees) who seemed to swear by him.

The tendency to follow the worst elements isn’t just confined to street youths; it’s prevalent in the department also.

At the time of the shooting, Kwiatkowski was promoted to lieutenant, after Horne was fired by black Commissioner McCarthy Gipson, as the result of a rigged public disciplinary hearing held in police department headquarters.

Having been fired by the black police commissioner with the approval of the black mayor, the black female officer who dared to stop a white officer with the long record of brutality now drives over-the-road as a tractor trailer operator, unqualified for a pension.

The same pension Kwiatkowski now receives, even after he continued to get in trouble during the time of Horne’s hearing; even after choking yet another victim; this time a fellow officer.

They allowed him to retire, in fact, they forced him to retire, because he strangled or attempted to choke another officer.

I challenge anyone who can follow the money, and tally how much his endless excessive-force cases have cost Buffalo in court fees, to even understand some of his cases.

In addition, the cases are federal and not easy to access.

Cha-Ching! 

The December 9, 2014 session was a follow-up to last July’s Common Council hearings many of us attended, part of which was behind the closed doors of a private session to determine whether or not Horne was justified when she prevented Kwiatkowski from choking Neal Mack in front of his home back On November 1, 2006.

It became the case that twisted people’s minds, and divided a town.

The July sessions started out as the result of Pastor Pridgen’s suggestion to take yet another look at her case based on the issue of her time served, and what happened.

According to Kendra Eaglin of WKBW Eyewitness News, “So what happens next? The city now waits for the state to verify Horne’s service credit totals; the city has also asked the state to determine if there are any other possible options that will allow Carol Horne to receive any possible option.”

By the state, she may mean New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, which also handles local retirement.

In Carol’s case, they have conducted another review of her records, which will then be audited by the state.

I recently spoke with Horne, and she had this to say while on the road.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support. Change is happening, and people from all nationalities are taking part against the war on unarmed citizens in America by police. It is a national problem. Common sense is not so common anymore. When a police officer is fired for STOPPING police brutality, you have to look at the system. A system designed to fail its lower-class citizens. The name of this game is ‘discredit.’ Shoot an unarmed citizen and discredit them. Say they reached for a gun that they never had, and; but, he had a criminal record. Well, with laws like Stop and Frisk, a person can be framed for whatever. We have to educate, and put laws into effect that will protect us. It’s time to wake up and unite.”

DiNapoli has been in office since 2007.

Police pensions fall under his watch.

These types of financial records are not accessible to the public, but considering the behavior of some local officers, and the rush to grant them a pension, Horne is a no-brainer.

Especially when compared to the amount she saved the city.

Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to the Hampton Institute, his own blog, and a syndicated columnist.