BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The killing of Daunte Wright, George Floyd, and Eric Garner at the hands of police and the fallout across the country have a lot to do with the reason a judge awarded a major victory to a former Buffalo Police officer.
Cariol Horne won her battle after a nearly 15-year fight, but she says her work for reform is far from over.
“My initial reaction was a scream, and just being elated,” said Horne.
Vindication for former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Horne took more than 14 years and a judge to recognize a nationwide desire for police reform, mostly at the hands of activists and tragedy.
“The way he worded his decision was great. It seemed like he really took time to put some thought into his words. And it meant a lot,” added Horne.
The judge who issued the April 13 ruling cited specific instances of in-custody deaths at the hands of police, which have sparked protests in cities across the country, and in Buffalo.
As part of his decision, Judge Dennis Ward wrote “While the Eric Garners and the George Floyds of the world never had a chance for a ‘do-over,’ at least here the correction can be done.”
Horne was fired from the department in 2006 after trying to stop her partner from choking a suspect. She lost her job and her pension. The ruling reinstates her ability to collect a pension, and two full years of back pay.
Judge Ward also referenced a 2020 city law adopted in Cariol’s name, which requires officers to act when they witness a coworker acting beyond the badge.
Horne told us, “The activists, the advocates, they were basically pushing for change … that it’s still going on. So there’s still work to be done.”
She also says she’s been on the receiving end of ridicule by police, especially recently during her time as an activist.
“When they were saying things like that, it only made me want to fight more because those are the officers that I am fighting against, because you are condoning bad behavior.”
Dave Greber is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.