BUFFALO — A state judge on Tuesday transferred an investigation of alleged police misconduct in Buffalo to a special prosecutor to avoid a conflict of interest in the district attorney's office.
The actions of two Buffalo police officers are under review after cellphone video showed them forcibly arresting 30-year-old Quentin Suttles, whose shoulder and eye socket were fractured, his attorney said, after he was pulled over for allegedly driving the wrong way on a one-way street. The video shows one of the officers repeatedly punching Suttles while he is on the ground.
Suttles' attorney has filed notice of his plans to sue the city and Officers Ronald Ammerman and Michael Scheu, alleging excessive force. The claim also alleges the officers racially profiled Suttles, who is Black.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn sought a special prosecutor in the officers' case because his office already was prosecuting Suttles following two prior arrests. In addition, an assistant district attorney is a potential witness in the officers' case, he said.
Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns' order transferred the case to the Monroe County District Attorney's Office for review.
The president of the Buffalo Police Police Benevolent Association told WBEN radio this week that he doesn't believe the officers will face charges because he said their use of force ended when Suttles was brought under control.
The actions of at least five Buffalo officers have come under scrutiny in recent months after being recorded by bystanders. On Monday, city officials said Lt. Mike DeLong has been suspended for allegedly calling a woman a vulgar name while she recorded police officers searching a man outside a convenience store. DeLong could not be reached for comment because a phone listing was unavailable.
Earlier this month, Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were charged with assault after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old protester, who then fell backward and struck his head. They have pleaded not guilty.