Three police officers in Buffalo, New York, are facing criminal charges of using excessive force and violating suspects' civil rights, following the settlement of a lawsuit late last year.
A grand jury has indicted Officer Joseph Wendel, Officer Raymond Krug and retired Lt. Gregory Kwiatkowski. In 2009, the officers arrested four Buffalo teens for allegedly firing a BB gun into a crowd. The young men claimed that the officers beat them, and one says an officer shot him multiple times with a BB gun after he had already been placed in handcuffs.
Two of the men sued, alleging that the officers violated their civil rights. A $75,000 settlement was reportedly reached last year. Attorney Roland Cercone told local NBC News affiliate WGRZ that his clients are happy if their lawsuit triggered the criminal investigation.
"We don't have control over prosecuting someone," Cercone said. "Our only avenue is to file civil charges so we did that. So we're glad that the US Attorney made the effort to take a look at these things […] to do the right thing in this situation."
Journalists at local news outlet WIVB report that Jeffrey Campbell, one of the alleged victims, has filed a new lawsuit against the city over a separate incident in 2013. Campbell says he was again targeted and beaten by police, who arrested him on charges that were later dismissed. Campbell's attorney tells WIVB that he believes his client was harassed because of his race.
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