by Chris Stevenson
That Kwiatkowski guy sure is looking like a glowing example of police integrity compared to Carol Horne isn’t he? The thought of uniformed police officers openly drinking alcohol, even in a bar smacks of a lack of respect for their standing as law enforcement officers, the department and the taxpayers of Buffalo as a whole. But that’s not the end of the story. I was made known of the incident even before the WKBW Eye-Witness News (EWN) story a few Wednesdays ago.
According to them, during the late hours of of Friday (May 7th) or early Saturday morning, 4 or 5 police officers (depending on who you listen to) “allegedly attacked another man, an off-duty NFTA Police Officer who suffered minor injuries.” EWN interviewed several witnesses at Pages Grille & Bar on Transit rd. That’s is the basic story told at this point. What many don’t know is that some of the officers involved the Page’s fight were said to have been in a previous altercation at a PBA awards dinner at Salvatores Italian Gardens only moments beforehand. A 5/13 Buffalo News story says the NFTA officer was “allegedly sucker-punched when he tried to calm the city officers, who were behaving in a rowdy manner after stopping at Page’s Grille & Bar on Transit Rd. in Lancaster after the annual Buffalo Police Benevolent Association Awards dinner on Friday night in Salvatores Italian Gardens on Transit authorities said Wednesday.”
Among the police names revealed and are a matter of record now are Officer Joseph Wendel and Lt. Greg Kwiatkowski (his attorney now says he was in “plainclothes”) to be honest with you none of this surprises me. I been hearing Greg Kwiatkowski stories during the past several years amidst the gross fact that a female officer he punched (11/1/06) was going through a Disciplinary Hearing, instead of him. It was a time of outright bias and ridiculousness for Buffalo, not that it’s anything new here. There emerged an across-the-board closed-arm shutdown and demonetization of Horne and anyone suspected of supporting her. Kwiatkowski could frivolously sue her over statements made by her attorney in an article written by me in “Political Affairs Magazine”and win. Judges and city officials seemed to be in agreement to rule in favor of Kwiatkowski and/or against Horne. One of the two black talk radio shows known to interview principles regarding the Horne case was abruptly cancelled by the station. Though it was the town’s number one issue for months, the shock-jocks at WBEN AM930 wouldn’t discuss it. The Horne Shutdown I called it.
An example of how thick the city-wide stigma against Horne is best illustrated in a story I broke on Kwiatkowski during the summer of ’07 in the Buffalo Criterion, where an Italian (Donny C. Answeeney) was beaten by Kwiatkowski and several other officers (Kwiatkowski-always astute-was said to have mistaken him for a Puerto Rican). This story was reportedly discredited when it came time to promote him to Lieutenant. The attorney for the victim; Daniel Tronolone, wants to collect damages but doesn’t want the incident or his case tied into the demonized Horne. Strange but true.
During the years since her release from the Buffalo Police Department Horne has been forced to cut her ties with some supporters, not the least of which was her attorney Anthony Pendergrass and his co-council Kenneth Nixon. Suddenly it wasn’t about shinning before the camera while milking her, it became about winning. To my surprise she took on the former Judge Barbara Sims and the results so far haven’t been bad. In fact Sims has far exceeded my expectations. Part of the reason for my concern over her involvement with Horne was my last attorney over my part in the case came from her office; James P. Davis. I considered both he and Sims to be from the “Amos & Andy” era, and not suited for what is essentially a long and grueling battle with “the white man.” At this juncture Ms. Sims may be the one who tips the scales for Horne if her recent argument before Supreme Court Judge Tracey Bannister and DA Mike Risman formerly of the Corporation Council holds up.
It was Tuesday the 25th where she stated that a Hearing Officer can’t make a ruling on criminal charges. This of course would throw out one of the biggest judicial fixes in the history of Buffalo, the Guilty ruling in 9 of 11 charges made by Hearing Officer Thomas Rinaldo, (for at least saving Neal David Mack from being choked) as well as the subsequent firing of Horne by former Police Chief Herman McCarthy Gipson back in 5/08. Reportedly Riseman’s argument has been that there has been officers fired after they’ve been exonerated of criminal charges. From his standpoint, why not Horne? But those cases were tried in an actual court of law. Not staged in Police Headquarters and presented as an actual trial. This is just one of the numerous in-your-face methods the department and police union intercepted justice regarding the Horne case.
As for the BPD’s defacto golden boy Kwiatkowski? Basking in truth-proof adulation on the white side of what was once the most racially divisive case in the city. Knowingly promoted when he should have been the one being put on trial. One blogger sums up the general feeling towards him from the right: “Greg Kwiatkowski is a hard-working no-nonsense cop.” The same excuse not to try him (because he was already under federal investigation on unrelated cases) seemed to elude him when it came time to promote him. This highly visible attitude problem in badge and uniform still stands tall while others in the anti-Horne house of cards have fallen; Gipson (literally) and most recently former hard-bitten Corporation Council pitt bull Diana O’Gorman. Gipson, a black commish serving under a black Mayor was accused of being a crack smoker by Pendergrass, while this is commonly cited as the reason for Horne being fired, it bears mentioning that there is just such an accusation filed under sworn Affidavit from a Terrance L. Kelly that officially states he knows Gipson smokes crack. Kelly, at one time an Imam at the local Erie County correctional facility said he never met Horne or Mack until a chance encounter with Mack after he was locked up. After hearing Mack describe his fight with the police in front of his home and Horne’s intervention, he went into detail about his knowledge of Gipson:
“14 During the course of my private conversation with Neal David Mack I voluntarily disclosed to Mr. Mack that in June of 2006 I had an experience at 88 Woltz Avenue in Buffalo with Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson and his sister… that involved the purchase of and use of crack cocaine and that, based on my experience, the allegation that was made during the Cariol J. Horne disciplinary hearing that Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson was a ‘crack head’ was in fact true. 15 Specifically I disclosed to Mr. Mack that in June of 2006, I had a drug problem and that at the time my drug of choice was crack cocaine. I disclosed that I purchased crack cocaine for Police Commissioner Gipson and his sister with monies provided by both Police Commissioner Gipson and his sister. I further disclosed in June of ’06 I was present in the same house, located at 88 Woltz Avenue in Buffalo, a single family, single story “shotgun” type of house that sits back off the street, when Police Commissioner Gipson… and me actually smoked crack cocaine.” This is just one of the numerous times Mr. Kelly discloses on that sworn statement to Kenneth Nixon that he witnessed Gipson using him to purchase crack and then returning to his sister’s home where all three were said to have smoked. Kelly also adds he no longer uses. It’s too bad this was filed in early 2009, might have made a difference if Kelly was found sooner, maybe.
Another angle that I’ve known, but haven’t been able to prove is that Mack and Gipson are family by marriage. Actually I first got news of this back during the summer of ’07 from several members in and out of town including of course Neal. From what I’ve gathered, some of the key older members didn’t want to ruin things for Gipson, after all, his mother was married to Mack’s cousin, they knew him since he was small. This is important in that Gipson has a brother doing a short stint for the killing of an older man. His influence rings loud, but not for Mack. What of the man Gipson promoted and the Mayor signed off on, Greg The Plague Kwiatkowski? Buffalo’s most protected cop since his day’s as a teflon PO. There are those who claim he is on a self-destructive course, others in the black community wait for “God” to take care of him. Kwiatkowski only looks like a Godzilla stomping through East Buffalo to many. In reality he is a mouse who hasn’t been outed. How can mice discipline a mouse? Nor do I buy the notion that he is destroying himself, his job is to destroy us, he’s doing a good job and he enjoys it greatly. Kwiatkowski is an embarrassment to the BPD only if the Buffalo Police Department had enough sense to understand their real job; to protect and serve.
The Transit cop they pounced on was no-doubt harboring aspirations one day of moving up to the big leagues; the mature adults of Buffalo Police Department. He imagined himself giving them the heads-up while at Pages that they were being watched and recorded by customers. In return for his loyalty he got served, savagely, but not by the waiter. This latest incident comes in the middle of yet more Kwiatkowski federal investigations; Answeeney and one having to do with his alleged assault on the son of a black female officer (certain white cops in Buffalo take no exception to assaulting children of fellow black officers) and another officer shooting him with his own BB gun. Can’t fire an officer during the middle of an investigation on him now can we? Damn Right We Can.
Chris Stevenson is a syndicated columnist, his articles also appear in the Challenger Community News. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, you don’t have to join either. Respond to him on the link below.