Police officer who prevented chokehold exonerated after 15 years

Derek Chauvin is currently on trial for the murder of George Floyd after restraining him with a form of chokehold by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes. Three other officers stood by, not only doing nothing to stop Chauvin but making sure that no member of the gathered crowd that was pleading for Floyd to be released were able to do anything either. Eric Garner also died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer.

It turns out that back in 2006, a Black police officer intervened when a white colleague placed a Black man in a chokehold, likely saving his life. So what happened to her? She was later fired and forfeited her pension. She sued but a court upheld her firing. But just this week, over a decade later, that ruling was reversed by a higher court that took what happened to Floyd and Garner into account.

A former Buffalo Police officer who said she was fired for intervening when a White officer attempted to choke a Black suspect will receive her pension after winning a lawsuit on Tuesday. The New York State Supreme Court vacated a previous ruling upholding the firing of Cariol Horne, CBS Buffalo affiliate WIVB reports.

In his ruling, Judge Dennis Ward wrote that “the City of Buffalo has recognized the error and has acknowledged the need to undo an injustice from the past. The legal system can at the very least be the mechanism to help justice prevail, even if belatedly.”  

“While the Eric Garners and the George Floyds of the world never had a chance for a ‘do-over,’ at least here the correction can be done,” Ward wrote.

Horne gained national attention in 2006 when she said she stopped officer Greg Kwiatkowski’s chokehold on Neal Mack. 

“Neal Mack looked like he was about to die,” Horne told CBS This Morning in an interview last year. “So had I not stepped in, he possibly could have. He was handcuffed and being choked.”

She was ultimately fired in 2008, mere months before she was eligible to receive her full pension.

Kwiatkowski sued Horne and her lawyer for defamation. In 2011, a judge found that Horne’s lawyer made eight statements that were considered defamatory and false, including the claim that Horne “saved the life of a suspect who was already in handcuffs and was being choked out by officer Greg Kwiatkowski.”  

But Mack maintains that Horne saved his life.

“He was choking me. I was handcuffed. Cariol Horne said, ‘You killing him, Greg,’ and she reached over and tried to grab his hand around my neck,'” Mack told CBS This Morning last year.

Mack sued five officers involved in his arrest in 2012. A jury found no wrongdoing in a ruling of 5-1. The juror who sided with Mack was the only Black person on the jury, reports the Buffalo News.

In 2018, Kwiatkowski was sentenced to four months in federal prison for a 2009 incident in which he used “unlawful and unreasonable force” against four black teenagers, including slamming their heads into a car. Ward said knowledge was not made available during “the original determinations in this case by both the hearing officer and this court.”

From his later actions, we see that Kwiatkowski was someone prone to using excessive force. I cannot believe that this was not known to his department. But they chose to victimize the person who tried to restrain him.

Trevor Noah commented on the Horne case.

Stephen Colbert also blasts the repeated casual use of deadly force by the police


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