NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — An investigation by the NYS Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office (LEMIO) concluded that a Niagara Falls police officer used excessive force in an arrest made last year.
The day after an encounter with police in May 2022, a civilian complaint was filed with LEMIO, alleging that officers used excessive force in arresting a 47-year-old woman on a disorderly conduct charge outside her home.
According to a news release from Attorney General Letitia James’ press office, the LEMIO investigation says an officer “arrested the complainant without probable cause and in retaliation for protected speech” in addition to using excessive force.
Additionally, James’ office says the officer’s supervisor failed to abide by the police department’s use of force policy.
According to the Attorney General’s office, the incident in question took place when, “dissatisfied with NFPD’s response to prior domestic abuse calls she had made,” the complainant criticized officers who were arresting someone near her home, then turned to walk back toward her home.
They say the officer followed her and after “a brief exchange,” he grabbed her “by the arm and forced her to the ground.” Another officer assisted him in handcuffing her and pulling her back up.
The incident was captured on the complainant’s home security camera and the disorderly conduct charge against her was later dismissed.
“LEMIO recommends NFPD take disciplinary action, update agency policies, and provide additional training to officers,” James’ office said.
These measures include the following:
- Draft and implement a disorderly conduct policy in consultation with OAG to educate officers on the elements of disorderly conduct and under what circumstances officers are authorized to charge individuals with disorderly conduct
- Draft and implement an appearance ticket policy in consultation with OAG to provide guidance to officers regarding the issuance of appearance tickets and when they should be issued at the scene
- Provide additional training to officers on de-escalation, appropriate use of force tactics, the NFPD’s Use of Force Policy, and the law regarding disorderly conduct and appearance tickets.
Since the incident, the officer who helped the originally-mentioned officer has since become a police officer with the Town of Niagara.
“This case will now be turned over to our Office of Professional Standards, where a complete and thorough investigation will be done,” Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Faso said.
The full report can be read here.