Drug film fuels questions about drug use

Drug Film Fuels Questions About Drug Use

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The attorney for a recovering heroin user says a Buffalo Police Officer recruited his client for the film called "Blink of an Eye" where his client then used drugs on camera.

That attorney also says the officer knew drugs were present and did nothing to stop it.

We have two questions we want answered. Who knew what? And when did they know it?

There are several people we wanted to question about the allegations. They include Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, Buffalo Police Captain Steven Nichols, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark, and Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

The Buffalo Police Department’s official seal appears in the first frame of the film. Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda is at the top of the chain of command and Captain Steven Nichols served as an adviser during production. We spoke with Nichols during filming in February.

"I don't think there's very many people who haven't been touched right now by some kind of opiate tragedy. I mean, I had one in August myself. My nephew passed from an overdose, so it hits everyone, and I think this is very timely, and it's a very important film," said Nichols in February.

Neither Nichols nor Derenda spoke with us Tuesday on the record or on camera despite our request.

The second logo to appear on-screen in the film is the seal of the City of Buffalo, which very much advocated for the production of the film. We requested to speak with the Mayor about the allegations, and we were not granted an interview Tuesday.

We also emailed the Governor's Communications Director since The Governor's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development appears in the film's credits. The Governor's office kicked our request to Empire State Development, the entity that oversees the film tax credit program. An ESD spokesperson told us the logo's use in the film's credits was unauthorized, and the state was not involved with this project.

Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark says he is unaware of any BPD officers recruiting a drug user. He also says that besides providing name tags for the film crew, the film commission had no other involvement.

After his story aired during our 6 p.m. newscast, 2 On Your Side’s Steve Brown got a call from a source.

"This person is familiar with the investigation and said that Officer Baker did make the arrest on Robert Sagliani, that she did introduce him to the movie's producers, that she did scout the location of the shoot over at the Main Place Mall, including procuring it for the production crew. Did introduce or at least met Sagliani there with the film crew, but I'm told that Officer Baker left before they started shooting, did not know that there were going to be drugs there or in use," said Brown.

So far, the only one who is talking on-camera is Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

"What do you believe is the proper conduct if an officer does see what he or she believes is illegal drug use?" asked Brown.

"They should be fired. As simple as that," said Flynn. "If a police officer knew that was going on and knew that there were live drugs, real drugs, real paraphernalia there, and the police officer just kind of turned a blind eye to it, that police officer shouldn't be a police officer."

You can watch the full short film "Blink of an Eye" below. 


© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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