Officer Cariole Horn was fired after an incident in 2006 in which she tried to prevent a police officer from using a suspect’s handcuff. Horn served in the Buffalo Police for 19 of the 20 years required to receive a pension.
“I had five children and I lost everything, but [the suspect] “Don’t lose your life,” Horn said then. So, if I have nothing else to live for in life, at least I can know that I did the right thing and that [he] still breathing. “
Tuesday’s decision reinstated Horn’s pension and released an earlier court ruling confirming her dismissal.
She added, “If not everyone is acquitted, then I am not acquitted,” saying she would continue to push for accountability in police departments.
CNN contacted the city on Wednesday, but did not receive an immediate response. Michael J. De George, a Buffalo spokesman, told Buffalo News: “The city has always supported any additional judicial checks available to Officer Horn and respects the court’s decision.”
Neither the Buffalo Police Department nor the Buffalo Police Charitable Association immediately responded to a request for comment.
“The legal system can at least be the mechanism to help justice prevail, even with a delay,” Erie County Supreme Court Judge Dennis E. Ward wrote in his ruling.
“One of the issues in all these cases is the role of other officers at the scene, and in particular their complicity in the inability to intervene to save the life of a person to whom such unreasonable physical force is applied,” Ward wrote.
Ward referred to Buffalo lawmakers who drafted a law requiring police officers to intervene in cases of excessive force, and called Horn’s legislation. In this way, Ward writes, the city “has already established that Officer Horn intervened to save the life of a civilian.”
Horn referred to the court decision in a statement issued through her lawyer.
“My excuse comes at a 15-year price, but what is won cannot be measured,” she said. “I never wanted another police officer to go through what I went through to do the right thing.”
She called on lawmakers across the country to pass similar legislation to Buffalo’s Cariole Act, which obliges officials to intervene and seeks to legally protect those who do.
Speaking to Limon, Horn said the law would “punish an officer if he didn’t intervene,” and the law for officers said, “If you think you’re going to break the law, you won’t break it, or at least you shouldn’t break it.” “
CNN’s Sheena Jones contributed to this report.