The attorney representing Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Achtyl says body camera footage showing a controversial arrest he made supports his actions.
Achtyl was arraigned Thursday evening on two assault charges, one falsifying business record charge, and an official misconduct charge in connection with the arrest of Nicholas Belsito, now 26, in a parking lot during a 2017 Bills game. News 4 first reported the charges, all misdemeanors, on Thursday morning.
#BREAKING: Law enforcement source tells me Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Achtyl to be charged with assault, falsifying business records, and official misconduct in connection with an arrest he made at a Bills game in December 2017. — Chris Horvatits (@ChrisHorvatits4) May 23, 2019
Belsito was initially charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration after the incident. Those charges were later dropped and Belsito sued Achtyl, Deputy James Flowers, who was Achtyl’s partner, Erie County, and Sheriff Tim Howard.
Belsito claimed the deputies showed a “negligent use of force” in his lawsuit. Flowers is not facing charges.
The incident was captured on a body camera. Belsito can be heard swearing at the deputies while walking away from their vehicle. Achtyl then exits the vehicle and approaches Belsito. While trying to make the arrest, Achtyl can be seen taking Belsito to the ground.
Belsito ended up bloodied and with a facial fracture, according to his lawsuit.
At his arraignment, Achtyl had the support of two to three dozen people, most of whom were fellow deputies, according to his attorney Rodney Personius.
“We have body camera footage in this case that supports what Deputy Achtyl did,” Personius said.
Orchard Park Town Justice Jorge S. de Rosas released Achtyl on his own recognizance. He is suspended without pay, according to Higgins.
Aaron Glazer, Belsito’s attorney, had a different take than Personius.
“We believe the facts clearly support the district attorney’s decision to prosecute (Achtyl),” Glazer said. “The law in New York is clear in that Nick should not have been arrested, let alone subjected to a vicious assault.”
But Personius argued this is about more than just one or two minutes on the video.
“You have to go back to the beginning,” he said. “You have to go back to when the beer cans were being thrown at law enforcement. You have to go back to when this gentleman was interfering with another arrest.”
That’s a reference to the arrest of Belsito’s friend, who was taken into custody just minutes before Belsito was.
Achtyl is scheduled to return to court on June 27th.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn spoke on the charges against Achtyl on Friday morning: