The viral video showing Buffalo police beating a handcuffed man after a traffic infraction would not have survived had it not been for the quick thinking of the man who recorded it, which explains why the video inexplicably ends after 80 seconds, even though the beating was getting intense.
It turns out, the cop doing the most beating, John Cirulli, ordered the videographer to delete the footage or have his phone confiscated.
But by then, the man had switched phones with another man, so the cop apparently was fooled into thinking the video was no longer there.
Now another citizen has come forward with a video showing another Buffalo police officer knocking the phone out of her hands as she was recording cops body slamming a woman during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
That cop, who has not been identified, then stomped on the phone and planted his foot on it, but the woman pushed his foot aside and retrieved her phone.
But the cop kept coming after her, demanding the phone as “evidence,” which would make him guilty of destroying evidence – had there been any validity to his demands – because the phone was inoperable after that.
That story comes to us from WIVB, which like many news stations, are unable to just come out and say photography is not a crime, resorting to the tired, old cliche …
“It raises the question: Do citizens have the right to video police while they are on the job?”
That question has been answered long ago and everybody but the media and the cops seem to know the answer.
She tells News 4 Investigates that she was coming out of a bar and saw that a “female was slammed to the ground” as police were breaking up a fight. The woman says that’s when she started taking video with her cellphone camera.
“He knocked the phone out of my hand and stomped on it and he wouldn’t take his foot off my phone so I actually had to like push his foot off my phone in order to get my phone back,” she says.
“And then he started coming after me demanding that I hand over my phone and I wouldn’t. And then I kept going on and he kept following me and then he eventually stopped.”
She says her cellphone camera stopped working went it hit the ground, and did not capture the rest of her encounter with a Buffalo Police Officer who she claims told her he needed the phone for evidence.
The woman says the officer told her that after he knocked her phone to the ground and it went dead. She claims he told her he needed it for evidence but didn’t tell her why.
She also claims that he directed her to delete the video she was shooting.
“He said you’re going to have to delete that.”
When presented with the newest video, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda refused to watch it, telling reporters that it was already under investigation, so there was no need for him, as leader, to take a stance or anything.
Derenda also assured reporters that the incident from earlier this week would be fully investigated, but that’s “going to take a little bit of time.”
But what didn’t take any time was for the FBI to get involved, launching their own investigation into the incident where police viciously beat a man named John Willet after pulling him over for a traffic infraction, claiming in their report he possessed marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin.
At least two surveillance videos may have captured footage of the beating as well, so Cirulli might have been exposed even if he did succeed in getting the videographer to delete the video (in case he didn’t know how to recover the video, which is possible through software like Photo Rec).
The beating was so bad that Cirulli was placed on unpaid administrative leave, a rare action that usually is protested by the police union.
But in this case, the union has been silent.
WIVB obtained the names of all the officers involved, including the ones who were just placed on paid leave.
John Cirulli, accused of visibly slapping and kicking Willet. He is on unpaid leave and is the primary target of the probe.
Five others were put on paid administrative leave on Monday by Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda:
Dennis R. Gilbert
Brian O. Griffin
Lindsay A. Laracuente-Zgoda
Lamar M. McCulley
Nicholas A. Militello
News 4 has made repeated calls to the police union but so far there’s been no comment.
So it looks as if they are hanging Cirulli out to dry.
But only because the video evidence is too overwhelming, leaving them no chance to create the usual crock of crap they regularly spin as truth