Fired officer who stopped white cop’s chokehold on Black suspect wins lawsuit

  /  04.14.2021

Cariol Horne, a former Buffalo Police Department officer who was fired after stopping a white cop from using a chokehold on a Black suspect, will receive her pension after winning a lawsuit on Tuesday (April 13).

According to CBS News, the New York State Supreme Court vacated an existing ruling which upheld Horne’s termination. Judge Dennis Ward wrote in the ruling 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,” the judge added.

Back in 2006, Horne made headlines after she stopped Officer Greg Kwiatkowski’s chokehold on Neal Mack. During a previous interview with “CBS This Morning,” Horne said it looked like Mack was “about to die” and said he “was handcuffed and being choked.”

Following the altercation, Horne was reassigned, hit with departmental charges and fired after spending 19 years on the force. The termination came one year short of the 20 years she needed to receive her full pension.

Kwiatkowski later sued Horne and her attorney for defamation, although Mack insisted that she saved his life. “He was choking me. I was handcuffed,” Mack previously said. “Cariol Horne said, ‘You killing him, Greg,’ and she reached over and tried to grab his hand around my neck.”

In a statement, Horne, who will now receive her pension, back pay and benefits, celebrated her vindication. “My vindication comes at a 15-year cost, but what has been gained could not be measured,” she said. “I never wanted another police officer to go through what I had gone through for doing the right thing.”


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