Coles restaurant, former Buffalo Police officer sued over bar fight

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Former Buffalo Police Officer, Andrew Rechin, who was cleared of charges in a bar fight, is now being sued along with Coles Restaurant Incorporated where the fight happened.

It was the early morning hours of October 31, 2018, outside Coles Restaurant on Elmwood Avenue, when off duty Buffalo Police Officer Andrew Rechin threw the first punch in a fight. He had told fellow officers that the man pulled a knife on him, so Denzel Fuller was thrown in jail.

Now Fuller is suing Rechin and the investigating officers in a civil suit which calls the event ‘a perverted show of loyalty involving the misuse of office.’

“Indisputably, there’s video that shows that Mr. Fuller didn’t do what he was accused of doing,” said BrittanyLee Penberthy, an attorney representing Fuller in the lawsuit. “What if any investigation did they truly do? What probable cause did they have to arrest Mr. Fuller that evening and charge him, by the way, with a felony.”

After further investigation, the charges against Fuller were dropped. Andrew Rechin was fired from the Buffalo Police force and was facing a harassment violation.

In August, he was cleared of that charge. Buffalo City Court Judge Diane Wray agreed with the defense argument that his police training prompted him to take defensive action when he saw Fuller swaying back and forth and putting his hand near a pocket as if he might have a weapon.

Outside of the courtroom in August, Rechin told News 4 how relieved he was to put the case behind him. “I look forward to doing whatever I can to being a police officer again. I wanted to be a police officer my whole life, so I’ll do whatever I can to get back.”

Rechin has not been able to get his job back, but recently took the Civil Service exam for the Buffalo Police Department in the hopes of starting over.

The civil suit by Fuller also names Cole’s Restaurant Incorporated noting that ‘Instead of taking action to break up the fight…the Security guards…took no action whatsoever and idly and passively observed the beating taking place before them,” according to the eighteen page court document.

“You see security actually holding off people and telling them to back away, not at all intervening,” said Penberthy.

An owner of Coles Restaurant declined the opportunity to comment on the lawsuit. Thomas Eoannou, the attorney who represented Rechin on the harassment charge, responded to this lawsuit saying, “There’s no merit to the grounds of the lawsuit.”

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