Former Buffalo Police Lieutenant Pleads Guilty To Federal Civil Rights Charge
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y.- Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Gregory Kwiatkowski, 52, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy. The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary Catherine Baumgarten and Aaron J. Mango, who are handling the case, stated that the conviction stems from a series on incidents which occurred while defendant Kwiatkowski was working the overnight shift as a Lieutenant with the City of Buffalo Police Department (BPD) on May 30-31, 2009. That night, Lt. Kwiatkowski arrived at 52 Treehaven Road in Buffalo to respond to a vehicle that had been stopped by the Cheektowaga Police Department (CPD) and that was believed to be involved in a BB gun shooting earlier that night. Lt. Kwiatkowski was the first BPD officer to arrive at the scene. Other CPD officers were present at the scene when Lt. Kwiatkowski arrived and had already removed the vehicle’s four occupants, who were all between 16 and 18 years old. At the time of Lt. Kwiatkowski’s arrival, all of the occupants were compliant and completely under the control of the CPD officers.
Upon arriving at the scene, Lt. Kwiatkowski used unlawful and unreasonable force on each of the four occupants. Specifically, Lt. Kwiatkowski admitted to forcibly pushing each of the suspects heads and upper torsos into the vehicle around which they were being detained. As set forth in his plea agreement with the government, Lt. Kwiatkowski agreed that his use of force against the four suspects was unreasonable and excessive and that his use of such use of force deprived the suspects of their Constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable seizure and to due process of law, by one acting under color of law.
Following the defendant’s use of force on the four occupants, the defendant recovered a BB gun from the vehicle in which the suspects had been riding and handed the BB gun to one of the other two BPD Officers, co-defendants Raymond Krug and Joseph Wendel, who had arrived on scene shortly after the defendant.
Krug and Wendel are accused of shooting one of the individuals with a BB gun while the individual was seated in the police car, handcuffed next to another of the arrested individuals. Trial of the charges against co-defendants Krug and Wendel is scheduled to commence on December 6, 2016, before Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Adam S. Cohen, Special Agent-In-Charge, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
Sentencing will be scheduled before Judge Skretny.