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Gov. Hochul signs legislation providing retroactive retirement benefits to former BPD officer Cariol Horne

Posted at 1:02 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 13:02:56-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the signing of legislation that provides former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne retroactive retirement benefits.

Horne was fired by the Buffalo Police Department after intervening when she says an officer put a man in a chokehold in 2006.

In September 2020 the Buffalo Common Council voted to pass “Cariol’s Law: The Duty to Intervene." The law states Buffalo police officers who reasonably believe a colleague is using excessive force have a duty to step in and stop it. An officer who fails to intervene could face criminal charges. The legislation aims to protect intervening officers from unlawful retaliation including termination, denial of benefits, or reassignment.

In October 2020 Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown signed it into law.

In April 2021 a New York State Supreme Court ruling reinstated Horne's pension.

The legislation signed by Hochul Thursday grants Horne service credit from the date of her termination until August 5, 2010 and allows her to apply to receive retirement benefits.

New York owes Cariol Horne a debt of gratitude for her service to the Buffalo community and for her bravery in a moment of crisis. I am proud to sign this law, which will correct a longstanding injustice and ensure that Officer Horne is treated with the dignity and respect she deserves.
- Gov. Hochul

The legislation was sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy (D - NY 63rd District) and he released the following statement:

Thank you to Cariol Horne for her unwavering service to our community and her refusal to stand by and watch injustice occur, no matter the cost. After years of being penalized for doing the right thing, I was proud to sponsor this legislation to provide her with the retirement pension she earned and deserves. Thank you to my colleague Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes for ensuring this bill passed the Assembly and Governor Hochul for signing it into law.
- Sen. Kennedy