Former cop won't serve time for beating suspect

Posted at 2:08 PM, Dec 01, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-25 18:46:52-05

A former Buffalo police officer, who resigned after admitting he beat a handcuffed suspect, will not spend any time bars.

A federal judge sentenced John Cirulli, 31, on Monday to a year of probation. Cirulli was recorded kicking and slapping John Willet during an arrest in April while Willet was on the ground with his hands cuffed.

Cirulli and his partner pulled up next to a car on April 14 and told Willet he was speeding. Willet then exited his vehicle and fled on foot. After catching up to the victim, and getting him in handcuffs, Cirulli hit Willet in the head twice and kicked him in the body. When Willet was in a patrol car, he was again hit in the head by Cirulli.

The incident was caught on video by a witness. Cirulli confiscated a cellphone, believing it belonged to the witness, and after determining it did not have video, returned it.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul said, “This office will not hesitate to act when civil rights allegations are brought to our attention. The public should also understand, however, that the actions of Cirulli do not in any way reflect upon the fine men and women of the Buffalo Police Department or of any other police agency, who day in and out work within the Constitution and law to protect and serve all of us.”

Cirulli pleaded guilty to two federal misdemeanor civil rights violations in May.