According to news sources, three Buffalo police officers have been identified in an investigation into police brutality that came to light after a YouTube video emerged showing uniformed police officers beating and kicking a 22-year–old suspect while he was lying on the ground in handcuffs. The investigation has identified Officer John A. Cirulli as the officer who repeatedly punched and kicked John T. Willet while Willet was restrained in handcuffs. The Buffalo Police Department said that Officer Cirulli has been suspended from duty without pay for “violations of various departmental rules and regulations.” Officers Lindsay A. Laracuente-Zgoda and Lamar M. McCulley were identified as the officers who were standing above Willet as he was beaten. Three other officers walked away before the beating occurred and did not witness it, according to police officials.
Assault Caught on Video
During the assault depicted on the YouTube video, Officer Cirulli placed his knee on Willet’s head or neck as three officers struggled to handcuff him. Two eyewitnesses recorded the video posted on YouTube with a cell phone at approximately 10:30 p.m. on April 19. In addition to the YouTube video, at least two other videos exist of the incident, one from a police surveillance camera and the other from a store in the area. Police authorities claim that the videos provide compelling evidence of Officer Cirulli’s use of excessive force. Police officers are legally obligated to report instances of police brutality, but that does not appear to have occurred in this case. After the allegations became known following the publication of the YouTube video, the internal affairs division began an investigation and Officer Cirulli was suspended by the police department without pay. The other two officers, who witnessed the assault and failed to stop it or report it, were placed on administrative leave. Officer Cirulli, 31, joined the Police Department in 2008 and has worked in several districts throughout the city.
Police Brutality Common in New York City
Unfortunately, the incident of police brutality involving Officer Cirulli and his colleagues are not uncommon in New York. Although police officers take an oath to “protect and serve” the public and to defend the Constitution, in fact, police officers frequently fail to live up to this standard. Often, police officers use unreasonable force against suspects and thereby violate the suspect’s constitutional rights. In addition to incidents of police brutality and excessive force, police officers also violate the rights of suspects by making arrests without probable cause, and by conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. When the rights of a citizen have been violated in an incident of police brutality or police misconduct, the citizen has the right to file a claim for damages.
Contact an Experienced Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer
The highly skilled Bronx police brutality attorneys of Sonin & Genis, have been successfully representing clients in police brutality matters for over 30 years. Contact the experienced attorneys of Sonin & Genis at (718) 561-4444 right away if you or a loved one has been victims of police brutality.