BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A New York State Supreme Court Justice has ordered the investigation into alleged misconduct by two Buffalo Police Department officers in the arrest of Quentin Suttles to be transferred to a special prosecutor.
The order came at the request of Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, who cited a conflict of interest in investigating the allegations. The case will now be reviewed by the Monroe County District Attorney's office.
"I got permission from the court to file...just so it wouldn't hang on...I got permission from the court to make this motion to get another DA," said Flynn.
Flynn says one of his Assistant District Attorney's is possibly a witness to the case. Flynn is also prosecuting Suttles in other cases, including an illegal gun charge, harassment charges and violating an order of protection.
The investigation surrounds the May 10th arrest of Suttles, 30, on Madison Street in Buffalo. The arrest, which was caught on a bystander's cell phone video and police body cams, shows one of the officers punching Suttles in the head repeatedly, while Suttles is on the ground.
Suttles has started the process of filing a lawsuit against the city for the alleged use of excessive force. The claim also alleges the officers "had engaged in prolonged grabbing of his genitals while finding no contraband."
According to the claim, Suttles was initially pulled over for a "minor traffic offense." Police said Suttles was driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and that officers smelled marijuana. The DA's office says Suttles was driving with a suspended license. The police report says Suttles "did push off vehicle and fight with officers" during a pat-down. It also claims Suttles ignored officers' commands to stop resisting.
The body cam and bystander's video provide two angles of the incident:
Following his arrest, Suttles was charged with tampering with physical evidence, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and two traffic violations.
Regarding the conflict of interest, the District Attorney's office says it is currently prosecuting Suttles in "multiple pending criminal matters," including arrests on September 8, 2019 and February 4, 2020. In addition to the May 10 charges, Suttles is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal contempt and harassment from those two prior arrests.