BUFFALO, N.Y. — After years of fighting to get her pension and back pay, a judge has ruled in favor of former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne.

Horne says she was fired after trying to stop a fellow officer from allegedly using physical force against a suspect.

The incident happened back in 2006. She lost her job two years later.

The judge found that Horne would have been physically capable of performing her duties and reinstated her as a police officer for the City of Buffalo for the period of July 2008 through August 2010.

The judge said Horne is entitled to back wages and benefits for that period, and the city is directed to make any required pension contributions for that period of time.



Posted by Cariol’s Law on Tuesday, April 13, 2021


A City of Buffalo spokesperson released a statement to Spectrum News, saying:

"The City has always supported any additional judicial review available to Officer Horne and respects the Court’s Decision.” 

Members of Horne’s legal team also released statements Tuesday.

Neil Eggleston, partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, said:

"We are gratified that the court recognized that former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Horne did the right thing in 2006 when she intervened when a fellow police officer had a chokehold on an arrestee.  The court has now set aside her wrongful termination from the police force, awarded her back pay, and has given her pension credit.  As the court notes in its opinion, ‘The legal system can at the very least be the mechanism to help justice prevail, even if belatedly.’ After many long years, that is what has happened here.” 

Ronald Sullivan, Jr., Harvard Law School professor and director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, said:

"This is a significant step in correcting an injustice that occurred 15 years ago when Officer Cariol Horne intervened to protect an unarmed civilian. As recent events have sparked national outrage over the use of excessive force by police, we are grateful to the court for acknowledging that ‘police officers who intervene [are] now being seen as heroes,’ and ‘to her credit Officer Horne did not merely stand by, but instead sought to intervene, despite the penalty she ultimately paid for doing so."

Back in September 2020, Buffalo Common Council passed what was originally known as "Cariol's Law," which requires officers to step in and stop their colleagues from using excessive force. It was signed into law by Mayor Byron Brown that October, and is known as the "Duty to Intervene" law.

The law is considered a major win by advocates calling for police reform.