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Harassment allegation against Erie County Sheriff candidate cost taxpayers $10,000

Kimberly Beaty denied wrongdoing
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Posted at 6:00 AM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 18:22:15-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For eight years starting in the early 2000s, Patrick Mann was Kimberly Beaty’s supervisor at the Buffalo Police training academy.

But Beaty was in the midst of a “meteoric rise” to the top of the police brass, becoming a lieutenant, then district chief and by 2014, deputy police commissioner.

By 2017, the promotions resulted in Beaty, who was one of the few women of color in leadership positions on the police force, supervising her old boss -- and Mann, a police captain, claimed Beaty “exerted her authority over me” to the point of harassment.

An arbitrator agreed, ruling in 2018 that Beaty -- who is running as a Democratic candidate for Erie County Sheriff -- violated three parts of the city’s contract with its police union, including the section pertaining to “discrimination and coercion.”

The incident cost taxpayers more than $10,000, according to public records obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team through a Freedom of Information Law request.

After the I-Team provided her campaign with arbitration documents obtained through a FOIL request, Beaty declined a request for an on-camera interview. Her campaign manager instead sent 7 Eyewitness News a statement that said Beaty “implemented numerous measures to promote accountability and transparency within the Buffalo Police Department during her 31-years of service.” Click here to read the full statement.

Beaty’s campaign also provided a copy of her BPD “disciplinary card” which summarizes other allegations of misconduct or procedure violations against Beaty. She was exonerated of most of the allegations and the only “sustained” allegations against her related to department procedures.

‘I knew this was going to happen’

The allegations center on a March 3, 2017 encounter between Mann and Beaty, who both joined the department in 1986 and who both retired in 2018.

During a June 2018 arbitration hearing at police headquarters, Mann testified that he “was called into DPC Beaty’s office and was berated regarding training. I was directed to produce a detailed hourly report daily and was advised that there would be no more overtime for me.”

During the hearing, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association officials stated that Beaty’s orders to fill out hourly training reports “were unprecedented in [Mann’s] 31-year career.” They called the measures “disciplinary and punitive” and said they “were designed to harass the captain and to make his subordinates angry with him.”

Buffalo Police Captain Patrick Mann.

Union officials stated that Mann “never worked overtime again for the remainder of his career” and that a lieutenant’s overtime “soared after the captain was barred from working overtime.” The move had a “profound financial impact” upon Mann and officials said that he “lost 555 hours of overtime” during his last few years on the job.

Reached by phone, Mann declined to comment about the incident or the arbitration ruling.

But Mann testified that he spoke with Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood -- who was then serving as first deputy police commissioner -- “regarding DPC Beaty asserting authority over him.” Mann stated that Lockwood told him that while Mann still technically reported to him, he needed to follow any lawful orders given by Beaty.

Then Lockwood “said something to the effect of, ‘I knew this was going to happen,’” according to Mann’s testimony. City spokesman Michael DeGeorge said that Lockwood "doesn't recall whether or not he made that statement."

‘Drastically different accounts’

“Both witnesses gave drastically different accounts of the conversation,” city lawyers wrote as part of the proceeding, “with Capt. Mann asserting that he felt essentially attacked, and DPC Beaty describing the tone as conversational in nature.”

Beaty stated that former police commissioner Daniel Derenda gave her the assignment of the daily activity reports. Derenda, who is now retired from the BPD, said he could not comment on any past or present arbitration rulings. Beaty also testified that while she denied Mann’s request to attend a conference on one occasion, “I have never had any animus toward Capt. Mann.”

City lawyers described the allegations as “an alleged history of harassing behavior,” but stated, “Capt. Mann may not have appreciated DPC Beaty’s management style in meeting with members of his staff and asking others to pass on information to him, but it was within her discretion to do so as a superior officer.”

As justification for the daily activity reports, city officials stated, “the department was being intensely questioned regarding training by both the media and the Common Council.”

In her statement to the I-Team, Beaty campaign manager Robin Logsdon said, “She maintains that no one is above providing an accurate report of how they earn their government salary, and that overtime is not an entitlement program.”

In a reference to the training requirements, Logsdon added that Beaty “will never stop fighting to ensure that officers have the resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively, especially when training is a concern.”

Resulted in $10,000 payment

But arbitrator Samuel J. Butto wrote in his August 2018 decision that the daily activity reports “appeared to be a ‘Make Work Assignment.’” He said Beaty’s actions “were implemented as a punishment” and “constituted discipline without due process.”

Butto, an attorney based in Warren County, north of Albany, ordered that Mann “ be made whole” for the 1.5 hours per day he would have worked overtime from March 3, 2017, until his retirement in March 2018, and that his retirement amounts be adjusted accordingly.

Many police officers and other public servants work large amounts of overtime at the end of their careers because state government pensions are calculated based on the amount earned during an employee’s final three years on the job.

Police officials said Mann in December 2018 was paid $10,202 as a result of the dispute. According to the website SeeThroughNY, which is run by the Empire Center think tank, Mann was paid $140,725 during his final year of service.

John Evans, president of the Buffalo PBA, declined to comment on the case or on Beaty’s actions other than to say that the police union is not endorsing Beaty for sheriff.

Crowded race for sheriff
Beaty, who now serves as director of public safety at Canisius College, is facing assistant Cheektowaga police chief Brian Gould in the Democratic primary. Beaty dropped out of the race shortly before the Erie County Democratic Committee endorsed Gould, but she has since re-entered the race, citing community support for her candidacy.

On April 1, the I-Team reported that Gould in recent years was suspended twice for allegations of misconduct in Cheektowaga. In an interview, Gould said that he was “up front and open” about the allegations and that he accepts “responsibility for them and I’m willing to talk about them so that everyone knows who I am.”

On the Republican side, retired Buffalo Police lieutenant and district chief Karen L. Healy-Case received the Erie County GOP endorsement, while retired Buffalo Police detective John C. Garcia is mounting a primary challenge.

The Buffalo News reported on April 1 that Healy-Case “once drove her Buffalo police vehicle into the rear of a stopped van, seriously injuring the other driver and costing city taxpayers $825,000 for an unusually large court settlement.” Healy-Case told The News that her foot slipped off the brake.

The News also reported that Garcia was involved a controversial 2013 police raid that resulted in a dog’s death and a $110,000 settlement paid by the city. Garcia defended the raid to The News, saying that his team “did everything by the book.”

Ted DiNoto, a detective lieutenant in the Amherst Police Department, is running on the independent Public Service Over Politics line. Other candidates include Akron police chief Rick Lauricella, activist Myles L. Carter and gun rights advocate Steve Felano.