Buffalo Police Officers Indicted for 2009 Incident
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Wednesday morning, US Attorney Bill Hochul announced the indictment of three Buffalo Police officers accused of violating the civil rights of four young men they were arresting.
Retired Police Lieutenant Gregory Kwiatkowski, along with officers Raymond Krug and Joseph Wendel were indicted yesterday for an incident that happened on Treehaven Road in the early morning of May 31st, 2009.
"In the case of officers Krug and Wendel, these officers stand accused of shooting one of the young men who had already been placed in a police car... two times with a BB gun," Hochul said.
Kwiatkowski is retired from the department. Krug and Wendel had been placed on paid leave, that switches to un-paid leave with the indictment.
The announcement comes after two highly publicized incidents of Police misconduct at Molly's Pub, and in a witness cell phone video. Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda insists that indictments like this mean the department is working to pick out any bad apples. "As I've said many times, 99 percent of our officers every day do an excellent job, put their lives on the line for this community. Their badges should not be tarnished by the actions of a few," Derenda said. "We will be aggressive in weeding out the few who don't follow the rules, and unfortunately you'll probably see more to come, but we're going to be aggressive on every issue that comes before us."
Council Member David Rivera, a former Buffalo Police officer, will chair the committee. He's hoping it will help restore public faith in the Police, but doesn't want to give the impression that the Council will now be forcing the Police Commissioner's hand. "We're going to reach out to the Commissioner to let him know exactly what we're trying to do," said Rivera after the Tuesday meeting. "We don't want them to think we're constantly looking over their shoulder, pointing a finger, looking for something wrong. When things do go wrong however, we're going to ask questions."
Today, Derenda reacted to the decision.
"I don't know what the agenda is, but we get along well with the council, and I'm sure we'll continue to work well with them. I'll be reaching out to Councilmember Rivera, and we'll work with them on whatever they need to work on."
Rivera says he expects the committee to meet in early June.