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Buffalo Police investigating use of force arrest

Posted at 4:32 PM, May 12, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Police Department is investigating the use of force by an officer during a Sunday arrest on Buffalo's East Side.

The arrest, was caught on cell phone video. Police say it started when officers observed a car driving the wrong way down Madison Street, which is a one way street.

According to police, the 30-year-old driver was driving without a license. When officers pulled him over, a police source says officers could smell a strong odor of marijuana. From there, police say they asked the suspect to exit the car. Officers say when they began patting him down, the man became tense and combative.

In an attempt to handcuff the suspect, police say the man was taken down to the ground. A police source tells 7 Eyewitness News the suspect had drugs on him and tried to destroy the drugs while officers tried handcuffing him.

In the video one officer says, "let it go," and "I'm trying to get the drugs." You can also hear officers say, "You're making this hard on yourself."

You can also hear a woman off- camera telling the man to "stop resisting." He replies, "I'm not."

Officers then get control of the suspect and are able to handcuff him.

"They did this for no reason," said the woman behind the camera. The officer replies, "For no reason? No one does that for no reason."

The woman then says, "Look at how you were treating him." The officer replies, "Do you see how it started?"

Is this excessive force? That's the question. The Buffalo Police Advisory Board is calling for a full investigation, as well as the officers to be suspended while the investigation takes place. Currently, both officers are still on the job. The officer involved in the punching is a three year veteran of the force.

A source tells 7 Eyewitness News the suspect has had multiple arrests in the past involving firearms. He is facing a number of charges including destroying physical evidence and resisting arrest.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown issued this statement:
"As Mayor of the City of Buffalo, a very diverse City, I am sensitive to any instances of conflict between members of our community and our police department. Along with concerned residents of our community, I have seen a video from Sunday, May 10, that captures a period of time during a police stop. Like others, I am concerned by what I saw on that video, however, I do not have all of the facts regarding this situation. The Police Commissioner has already opened an Internal Affairs investigation, and I am directing that this investigation be expedited and made a top priority. I also support the police commissioner’s decision to request that the Erie County District Attorney’s Office review this incident. In addition, I am asking our well-respected Police Commissioner, Byron Lockwood, to convene members of the community, as well as members of the Buffalo Police Department to work together to strengthen our restorative practices and continue building better and stronger community relationships."