BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Buffalo police officer is now on administrative leave after colliding with a motorcycle on the city’s east side late Tuesday afternoon.
It happened at the busy intersection of William Street and Jefferson Avenue. The motorcyclist is in critical condition. A full investigation has been launched by the Buffalo Police Accident Investigation Unit and Internal Affairs.
A city surveillance camera and one mounted on the side of a Rite Aid building along William near Jefferson could offer clues about exactly what happened.
Buffalo Police captain Jeff Rinaldo tells 7 Eyewitness News the department is in the process of “reviewing any and all video footage".
Rinaldo declined an on-camera interview saying the department is “not talking about specifics” while this is "under investigation."
But this case is more high-profile as police have identified the officer involved as Michael Norwood. Norwood is a six-year veteran of the force and well-known as one of the city's singing police officers. He was treated for minor injuries and police said Officer Norwood is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
“Whether he's a singing cop or not - isn't important – it's the fact that this was an unfortunate incident and before anyone starts going nuts on social media – they should know what happened and it's going to take a while to determine that,” stated Tom Burton, attorney for the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.
Burton represents the police union. Burton says social media posts claiming the officer was on his phone are wrong.
“Any suggestion that he was texting or on his cell phone is pure nonsense,” said Burton. “There's not a hint of any purposefully or criminal wrong-doing. some of the early things that popped into social media is just, just pure speculation and it is unfair to officer Norwood,” Burton remarked.
Burton says officer Norwood was alone in his police cruiser and turning left when his vehicle was struck by a motorcycle.
Investigators will examine speed, direction and talk with any witnesses.
Burton tells us officer Norwood is "deeply upset" and is praying for the recovery of the motorcyclist.
“But sure, he’s upset. No cop starts out wanting to have his shift result in somebody that’s seriously injured. It’s important to realize this is an accident, not something that involves anything more than that,” Burton noted.
Police are not releasing the victim's name at this time.
We spoke with the mother of the victim Wednesday afternoon. She tells 7 eyewitness news her son remains in “critical but stable condition”, but is surrounded by much support both family and his church family.