1 Buffalo Police officer suspended without pay over video

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo Police have now suspended one officer without pay pending an investigation into an April 19th incident.

A source has confirmed that the suspended officer's name is John Cirulli. Five others were placed on administrative leave.

Cirulli has already sought legal help. Rodney Personius, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, told 2 On Your Side that he met with Cirulli on Tuesday. Personius declined any further comment.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda spoke to members of the media Monday to discuss a video that surfaced over the weekend that shows a handcuffed man being slapped and kicked by officers.

The incident happened April 19 near Philadelphia and Ontario Street around 10:30pm. Derenda says the suspect was stopped by police for a vehicle and traffic infraction. He says about five or six officers responded to the scene.

An attorney who is representing the man has identified him as John Willet.

Derenda would not discuss specifics of the incident, nor would he comment on if the department had identified any of the officers, or their current status with the department. "It is going to take a little bit of time … investigators have been making progress since Friday."

Multiple viewers posted links to this YouTube video on the WGRZ Facebook page over the weekend. The video shows uniformed police officers arresting a man. After the suspect is on the ground and apparently handcuffed, one of the police officers can be seen kicking the man and striking him with his hand. (Warning: some raw language is audible in the video.)

Derenda says he has spoken to the FBI, Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita and US Attorney Bill Hochul regrading the incident "99.9% of our officers do the right thing," Derenda says. "Bad actions by a few should not tarnish their (officers) badges."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown also spoke to the media Monday afternoon. He said he found the video "very disturbing".

"We will conduct a complete and swift investigation. We will not and do not tolerate any instances of police misconduct in my administration, or in the city of Buffalo," Brown said.

"We have made it quite clear that we will not accept or tolerate any violation of the public's trust," he added.

When asked on potential punishment for the officers involved, Brown said, "Whatever penalty is allowable."


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