In 2008, an African American police officer in Buffalo, New York named Cariol Horne, was fired because she was attempting to stop her white colleague, Greg Kwiatkowski, who was performing a chokehold on black suspect, Neal Mack, who was already handcuffed. Horne is now receiving a pension from the police department after she won a lawsuit this past Tuesday.
According to CNN, Horne stated that “The message was sent that you don’t cross that blue line and so some officers — many officers don’t.” She continued, “I had five children and I lost everything but [the suspect] did not lose his life,” Horne said. “So, if I have nothing else to live for in life, at least I can know that I did the right thing and that [he] still breathes,” said Horne.
Neal Mack felt as though Horne saved his life, and sued five other officers that were involved in his incident. Horne and her lawyer were sued by Kwiatkowski for defamation. A judge said that Horne’s lawyer made statements that could have been false and defamatory in 2011. In 2018, Kwiatkowski was sentenced to four months in prison for an incident that occured in 2009 for using “unlawful and unreasonable force” against four African American teenagers.
Horne helped develop “Cariol’s Law” because she felt the need to bring accountability and change to the department. The law requires officers to intervene if they see their colleagues acting violent towards a suspect. This law passed in Buffalo, New York in 2020. As she works to add a national registry to keep track of officers with violent and abusive histories, she is also working to push “Cariol’s Law” to the federal level.