Lawsuit filed against Buffalo police over documents connected to South Buffalo Maserati crash

Posted at 2:00 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 19:23:48-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Police Department's refusal to release documents connected to the Maserati involved in that deadly South Buffalo crash has prompted the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team to file a lawsuit.

After months of back and forth, a judge will now decide if the police can keep this information hidden from you.

The 18-page lawsuit reveals the Buffalo Police Department's refusal to release documentation to the public, detailing the process used to get information from the black boxes, from the 2008 Maserati involved in a deadly October crash.

"The Buffalo Police Department needed to turn over that information...but they never did," said Mickey Osterrieicher, who is representing the I-Team in this lawsuit.

Osterrieicher explains, the Buffalo Police Department is keeping this information secret, despite instructions to release those documents, from the city's attorney.

We asked Osterrieicher, why the police department wouldn't want to listen to their own attorney.

"That's a good question," Osterrieicher said. "We'd like to know the answer. It also creates this question of what are they trying to hide?"

Now, eight months after the crash that killed Kristin LaBruno and Anthony Twentyfive III, the I-Team has learned from a police source, what was taken from the Maserati was thought to be the black box, but was actually a different device. Buffalo Police were unable to recover any crash data from that device.

"Where there's some evidence of wrong doing, it's not as bad as the cover up of the wrong doing. It's like why is everyone going to this extent... kind of like the who done it," Osterrieicher said.

Is the City of Buffalo or the Buffalo Police Department trying to cover something up?

"I don't see why they would have any reason to," Osterrieicher said.

Still, I-Team lawyers call the refusal to release these documents, "a transparent attempt at procedural gamesmanship designed to frustrate access to public records..."

"Unfortunately, we see all too often where the government misuses those exemptions, to keep information that they don't want released, for whatever reason. Whether it's justified or not, now is going to be up to the court to decide," Osterrieicher said.

The Buffalo Police Department suggests it's the Erie County DA's office, stopping them from releasing this documentation. A spokesperson for the DA says she cannot comment because this case is still under investigation.

Hours after calling Buffalo police spokesman Mike Degeorge, he sent a statement to the I-Team via text:

Upon further conversations with the District Attorney's office, it was determined that the release of the requested documents would be inappropriate considering the ongoing nature of the criminal investigation.

Our lawsuit is now moving through the legal process.