Cariol Horne photographed by Tito Ruiz

In 2006 Buffalo police Officer Cariol Horne did the right thing. She saved a life when she intervened to stop a fellow officer who had an unarmed Black man in a deadly chokehold. Her reward? She was dismissed from the force, losing both her pay and her pension, while the cop who was using excessive force was rewarded.After 15 years of fighting to have her dismissal overturned and her full pension restored, the amazingly resilient mother of 5 claimed victory on Tuesday when State Supreme Court Judge Dennis Ward, in a courageous, 11-page ruling, reinstated her eligibility for her pension and restored all time she is owed. It is a stunning, more than deserved victory for this heroine/activist. She released the following statement to the Challenger. Congratulations Cariol! To God be the Glory!

Today marks the day justice became tangible. I received a much sought-after vindication, one that came at a 15-year cost.

For close to two decades, I have been wrongly accused and was unjustifiably fired by the Buffalo Police Department for upholding my oath to protect and serve. This uphill battle has been lined with resistance from the very systems that should protect and serve both those with a badge and those without. I never sought to become a reformer of police accountability, but it is the role I have proudly stepped into.

This journey continues, and I am closer than I once was. What has been gained, however, cannot be measured. I never want another Police Officer to go through what I went through for doing the right thing. The people in the community want accountability and that is what Cariol’s Law does. We rallied together and pushed the needle of justice.

I am the litmus test for Cariol’s Law. I wrote my own freedom papers and Hon. Judge Dennis Ward signed them today. Today’s win has completely overturned the failed attempts to break me through rulings which were fallacies, rooted in deep seated prejudice. My eligibility for my pension has been reinstated and all time owed is being restored.

Cariol’s Law is the legacy my injustice birthed. And it is because of Cariol’s Law that my amazing legal team gained this victory on my behalf. We watch as officers, time and time again, are not held accountable for the mounting deaths of unarmed civilians, specifically the audacious and callous murders of unarmed black men. We must begin to delve deeper into the role of the uniform.

While my victory today is the beginning of many more to come, the focus for my team and me is the Cariol’s Law National Registry. In order to change this system, we must actively and fearlessly stand up to it.

Lastly, I’d like to thank State Supreme Court Hon. Judge Dennis Ward for taking the bold and necessary steps for justice. He eloquently began the conclusion of his decision with an MLK quote which I will add here:

“Quoting the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘the time is always right to do right.’ The City of Buffalo has recognized the error and has acknowledged the need to undo an injustice from the past. The legal system can at the very least be the mechanism to help justice prevail, even if belatedly. While the Eric Garners and George Floyds of the world never had a chance for a “do over,” at least here the correction can be done.”

I wish to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to see this day: the day of my vindication, of justice, and of making HerStory! I will not be erased.

My name is CARIOL HORNE! Justice has been delayed for me, but today justice found me. Justice may have been delayed, but it was not denied.

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