BUFFALO, N.Y. — A police brutality case, nearly a decade old, finally has its day in court.
Two suspended Buffalo Police officers, Raymond Krug and Joseph Wendel, are charged with civil rights violations for allegedly using a B.B. gun to shoot a handcuffed teenager.
That teenager, now 26 years old, is the prosecution's star witness. Donald Silmon took the stand Wednesday, the first to testify after a jury was selected.
At the time of the incident, Silmon was 17 years old. He told the jury he was the one behind the wheel on May 30th, 2009. He claims he and three of his friends made plans to play basketball at UB's South Campus that night. However, their plans changed when one of those friends fired a B.B. gun from the car into a small gathering of people in the area of Main Street and Custer in Buffalo.
Silmon testified that he drove away from the scene in fear, and was soon after stopped by Cheektowaga Police on Treehaven Road.
The Cheektowaga officers notified BPD, and 3 officers responded: Greg Kwiatkowski, Wendel and Krug.
According to Silmon, Kwiatkowski grabbed him around the neck, pushing him against the car, turned him around, and then slammed his head against the vehicle.
Silmon claims Kwiatkowski asked him "Do you like shooting at white kids?" to which Silmon answered, "I'm white myself, why would I like shooting at white kids?" The 26 year-old explained to the jury that his father is half white and half black, and his mother is white.
Silmon recounted being handcuffed and sitting in a squad car on Treehaven Road. He told the court Krug approach the patrol vehicle with a B.B. gun, asking if it was Silmon's, and immediately shot him in the right calf.
Silmon says Wendel laughed at that, telling Krug "shoot him in the balls." Silmon told the court Krug shot him again in the upper left thigh.
According to his testimony, the abuse continued at the police station, where Silmon alleges that Wendel punched him twice in E. District station garage.
In 2016, Kwiatkowski, a now retired lieutenant, admitted to pushing each of the suspects heads into the vehicle and pleaded guilty to a federal charge. He also admitted to putting his hand around Silmon's neck. It's believed that he plans to testify against the other two officers.
During opening statements, the defense said it is likely that Raymond Krug would take the stand at some point during trial to testify in his own defense.
The case resumes Thursday at 9 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Downtown Buffalo.