Former Buffalo Police Lieutenant Sentenced On Federal Civil Rights Conviction
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Gregory Kwiatkowski, 54, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted of deprivation of rights under color of law, was sentenced to serve four months in prison by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The defendant was also sentenced to one year supervised release to include four months home detention.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled 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 an ongoing series of BB gun shootings, including one which occurred 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, Raymond Krug and Joseph Wendel, who had arrived on scene shortly after the defendant. Krug and Wendel, who were accused of shooting one of the individuals with the BB gun while that individual was handcuffed next to another arrested individual in the back seat of the police car, were acquitted following a trial.
Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Gary Loeffert, Special Agent-In-Charge, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood.
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