wkbw_49278_Super7_658x90.png

Actions

Did Buffalo drug crisis movie go too far with use of real drugs?

Question of whether police condoned drug use
Posted at 6:57 PM, Jun 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 18:57:53-04

The movie is called "Blink of an Eye," made by a local film crew with the support of Buffalo police and Mayor Byron Brown.

But did producers go too far with a scene that used real drugs?

“I guess the whole point of the movie was to bring attention to the opiate crisis, but the danger...they could have died in that restaurant,” attorney Mark Sacha said.

“You just shouldn't have done this,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “That was a stupid way to make this movie.”

Sacha claims his client -- Robert Sagliani -- was arrested with his mother for heroin possession in December -- before police propositioned him about appearing in the movie. The incident was first reported Tuesday by The Buffalo News.

He says producers gave him money to buy real drugs for a scene in a bathroom of the Main Place Mall, where he goes off script and actually ingests the drugs.

Police say no deal was ever made for real drug use, but Sacha says his client thought his cooperation would help his court case.

“This shouldnt happen,” Sacha said. “Buffalo police...nobody in law enforcement has the right to give somebody or arrange for somebody to have heroin -- in fact, that’s a felony.”

Police have opened an internal investigation to see if officers should be disciplined but they say they did not know about the illegal drug use.

“We talked to the producers about not only the fact that possession, use or purchasing of drugs is something we couldn't condone because it is illegal,” Buffalo Police Capt. Steven Nichols said. “So we would obviously be no part of that and he agreed.”

Flynn, the district attorney, said he sees poor judgment -- but not necessarily criminal action -- on the part of police.

“If a police officer knew that was going on and knew that there were live drugs, real drugs, real paraphernalia there, and the police officer just kind of turned a blind eye to it, that police officer shouldn't be a police officer, in my opinion,” Flynn said.

As for Sacha's client, he will be back in two weeks when he finds out if a judge will dismiss the  charges.