Veteran Buffalo officer facing legal trouble

Posted at 9:28 PM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 03:13:48-04

A veteran Buffalo police officer is at the center of a lawsuit, over claims he punched and kicked a man in the head, breaking his nose.  The alleged assault was all captured on surveillance video...

This happened more than three years ago outside a downtown nightclub.

Video shows a man, identified as Derrick Anderson, being walked out of the old Sinful nightclub on Delaware Avenue.

"Right away, you see two punches," Anderson's attorney James Vandette said.

Vandette says Buffalo Police Officer Cedric Littlejohn attacked his client early one January morning, in 2013.

Surveillance video shows people pouring into the street immediately after.

"Littlejohn pulled his service revolver and told everyone to back up," Vandette said.   

Anderson's attorney said Littlejohn was working security at the club, now called Waiting Room.  He was off duty, according to the attorney, but dressed in a Buffalo police uniform.

"Police officers, especially when you identify yourself as a police officer, certainly you appear to be on duty," Vandette said. 

That's exactly why his client is suing Littlejohn and the City of Buffalo.  Anderson claims his civil rights were violated when he was assaulted and struck by Littlejohn, "without provocation."

Anderson suffered a broken nose as a result of this altercation.

"The Buffalo Police should step up and defend and indemnify officers who hold themselves out to be police officers and commit these acts upon the public," Vandette said.

Despite filing a citizen complaint against Littlejohn, Vandette said he does not believe Littlejohn was ever disciplined and was never charged with assault.

"The interesting thing is not only was Officer Littlejohn not charged but Mr. Anderson wasn't charged in this," Vandette said. 

Fast forward to February.  Another man told 7 Eyewitness News he was assaulted by Littlejohn.  Eyewitnesses to that alleged assault called it a violent road rage attack. 

Littlejohn acknowleged some sort of an altercation between he and the alleged victim in the February incident.  He refused to talk specifically about what happened.

A Buffalo Police Department spokesman would only say Littlejohn is being investigated by Internal Affairs for the February incident.

As for the 2013 case recorded on camera, the spokesman refused to comment, citing pending litigation.

"We're just hoping that claims and similar claims like this lead to a change of behavior within the Buffalo Police Department," Vandette said. 

At one point, the attorney says Littlejohn grabbed the victim's $4,000 necklace and it broke.  Pieces scattered all over the sidewalk.  That's part of the civil lawsuit working through the courts.

Littlejohn is due back in court in July.