BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) A former Buffalo Police officer who was fired after a fight outside of a bar was caught on surveillance video, was cleared of all charges in the case Tuesday, and now hopes to get his job back.
“We’re very, very pleased with the verdict,” said Thomas Eoannou, the attorney who represented Andrew Rechin. “At first blush, when you look at the video, it said one thing. When you slowed it down, frame by frame it told a completely different story.”
It was Halloween morning, outside of Coles Bar on Elmwood where the surveillance video shows then off duty Buffalo Police officer Andrew Rechin step up to a man and throw the first punch. He told investigating officers that the other man, Denzel Fuller had a knife, and later police found a knife in Fuller’s pocket.
Although the video never shows Fuller pulling a knife, Rechin maintains that the reason he threw the first punch was a defensive reaction, because Fuller had his fingers in a pocket and was rocking back and forth. Today, City Court Judge Diane Wray agreed that it was a defensive reaction and not intent to harass, so she threw out the harassment violation against him. It was that arrest that led him to be fired from the Buffalo Police Department while he was still on probation.
“I’m just really happy that it’s overwith,” said Rechin outside of court. “It was a long road and I look forward to doing whatever I can to being a police officer. I wanted to be a police officer my entire life, so I’ll do whatever I can to get back.”
Rechin says it’s hard to tell what his chances will be of getting his job back. “Hard to tell, but I’m willing to put in the work.”
When asked if he wished that night never happened, Rechin replied “I do, but I think if it was someone else, they might not have been as lucky.”
The decision of whether he gets his job back will be up to Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood.
“He’s always wanted to be a cop, involved in the DARE program, involved with volunteering with children. He should be a cop and hopefully he gets back there,” said Eoannou.