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DA: No charges against Buffalo officers who held down, punched man under arrest

DA: No charges against Buffalo officers who held down, punched man under arrest

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BY: Lou Michel , Maki Becker of the Buffalo News
PUBLISHED: March 5, 2021

An investigation into an arrest by two Buffalo police officers captured on cellphone video holding down and punching a man led to no charges, the Monroe County District Attorney confirmed Friday night.

The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office decided not to press charges against Officers Ronald Ammerman and Michael C. Scheu after an assistant district attorney conducted a months-long investigation that included interviews and footage of the May 10 arrest of Quentin Suttles during a traffic stop.

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley confirmed that her office’s investigation was completed and the officers will not be charged.

“We looked at everything. We spoke to the victim, we looked at the body-worn cameras, the cellphone video by the girlfriend and we spoke to the officers,” Doorley said. “We reviewed the orders of when they could use force and we came to the conclusion that no charges were warranted against the police officers.”

In the cellphone video of the May 10 arrest, Ammerman is seen repeatedly punching Suttles in the face while Scheu is holding him down on the ground.

An unseen woman is yelling, “Get off of him!” and “Stop! You’re going to hurt him. Get off of him!”
 
One officer tells the man repeatedly to “let it go” and “you’re making this way worse on yourself.” One of the officers also can be heard saying, “Please stop.”

Suttles, 30, of Buffalo, suffered a fractured shoulder blade and orbital bone, according to legal papers filed by his attorney in State Supreme Court.

Suttles has filed a notice of claim against the city and police department, the first step in a civil lawsuit. His attorney in the civil case, Prathima Reddy, called the decision by the Monroe DA not to file charges against the officers “nothing short of a miscarriage of justice.”

The case drew attention in the summer after protests erupted in Buffalo and nationwide after the killing of George Floyd, who died as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. Protesters saw what happened to Suttles as another example of a Black man mistreated by white police officers.

“These officers forcefully assaulted and violated Mr. Suttles without reason or justification and now with no criminal consequences, even though they were acting violently, outside the scope of their employment,” Reddy said.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn requested a judge appoint a special prosecutor because of conflicts of interests with his office and Suttles, who was charged in two other cases. State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns transferred the case to the Monroe County DA’s Office.

“The Office of the District Attorney for the County of Monroe conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation and came to the correct conclusion that no criminal charges were warranted against the officers,” said Terrence M. Connors, the attorney for Scheu.

“Officer Scheu is a terrific policeman with a pristine record and a great career ahead of him,” Connors said. “He and his family are grateful that at the end of a lengthy investigation, his actions in connection with the arrest were justified.”

Rodney O. Personius, the attorney representing Ammerman, called the case “not close.”

“The mass of video and audio evidence conclusively demonstrated the suspect was combative and intent on inventing a false narrative from the outset of the encounter,” Personius said.

Flynn said he is awaiting an official notification of the Monroe DA’s findings before moving ahead with pending criminal charges from the May arrest. Those charges include felony tampering with physical evidence and misdemeanor resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration.

Suttles had been stopped by the officers on Mother’s Day while he was driving to his mother’s residence. The officers spotted him driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Flynn had cited a conflict of interest because of the two previous pending cases his office was already prosecuting against Suttles.

Suttles is scheduled to have one of the first in-person jury trials in State Supreme Court since the loosening of pandemic restrictions next month in Buffalo. He is being tried on a felony charge of possession of a loaded 9 mm handgun stemming from a 2019 arrest. He allegedly refused to exit a vehicle and fought with police.

The other pending case is from last March for violating an order of protection a woman had obtained against him. That case is pending in the Integrated Domestic Violence Court.

Read the full article in the Buffalo News –>