pictured: Cariol Horne and Neal Mack./Photo by Tito Ruiz
History was made last Wednesday October 28 when the first ever real police reform that holds police officers accountable called Cariol’s Law, was officially signed and passed first in the City of Buffalo.
“My team and I thank the community for the feverish efforts and continued support of this very, very long journey in passing Cariol’s Law, stated former Buffalo police officer Cariol Holloman-Horne. “We would like to thank the Common Council for their leadership on this very important law. We also would like to give a nod to Mayor Byron Brown who made the pertinent decision to have his legacy placed on the right side of history by signing Cariol’s Law.”
The law, which was written by Ms. Horne in 2016 and co-authored. by Terry Watson of the Pennsylvania Strategy for Justice, is named after Cariol who was fired from her police officer job some 14 years ago for stopping a fellow officer from choking a Black man, Neal Mack on Walden Avenue.
The law was updated last year she said, after the death of George Floyd.
Among other things, Cariol’s Law requires officers to intercede when another officer is using excessive force, protects whistleblower cops and provide protections for officers who intervene or report other officers.
Cariol, the mother of five, lost her job and her police pension after almost 20 years of service.
“With Cariol’s Law, officers will no longer be able to stand by and watch or participate in police brutality, officers who intervene will be protected and our community can begin to rebuild the trust that has been stolen from us by the hands of those who make the oath to serve and protect,’ she stated.
“I feel incredibly vindicated as my law pioneered reform and is now etched into history. In all, not only do I deserve my pension in its totality, I deserve to be made whole!”
Her current attorneys recently filed a new lawsuit to restore her pension. While the filing from her lawyers does not bring new evidence, it argues that key witness statements do not dispute the story Horne has been telling from the start: that she intervened to protect Mack.
“Both accounts converge on a description of a violent arrest, involving a chokehold, during which Ms. Horne intervened with reasonable acts calculated to prevent a death by chokehold,” the lawsuit reads. “While the accounts differ on the extent of force Ms. Horne used to remove Mr. Kwiatkowski … all accounts include his use of a chokehold and another officer’s intervention.”
The lawsuit also notes that the charges against Mack, the suspect, were later dropped, and that Kwiatkowski, who resigned from the force in 2011, was later convicted in an unrelated federal civil rights case in which he slammed the heads of four Black teens into a squad car.
“I never gave up,” Horne told the Chicago Tribune. “So long as the police are killing people, I had reason to speak up.”
She and her team now plan to take Cariol’s law around the country in hopes of getting the bill passed in every city.
“I feel like there’s still work to be done, but (getting the bill signed) is a step in the right direction,” she told the Challenger. “ If I can do it other people can do it. You don’t have to feel like you have to be in government in order to make a change.”
Visit www.cariolslaw.com for more updates