Former Police Officer Cariol Horne shared her story during a talk titled “From Officer to Activist” on Thursday, July 30. Horne’s talk addressed topics including police misconduct, systemic racism and the bystander effect.
In 2006, Horne – a 19-year veteran officer of the Buffalo Police Department – physically stopped a fellow police officer who was choking a handcuffed Black male. She was fired without pension by the department in 2008.
Associate Professor of Anthropology Chris Annear, a coordinator of the event, says, “Hers is a story that is especially poignant in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a police officer whose colleagues, unlike Cariol, did not intervene when there was abuse.”
Horne’s story has received renewed attention from the media, as well as local Buffalo and state officials, in light of the nation’s ongoing conversations regarding police brutality and systemic racism. Horne has appeared on CNN, “The Morning Show” on CBS and “The Breakfast Club” radio show.
Horne has led an effort to draft legislation that would create a mandatory stature on police bystander intervention and protection from retaliation. The law would also require external investigation with mandated reprimanding for abuse or misconduct and create a required reportable registry. They have named the proposed legislation “Cariol’s Law.” It is currently under review by the Legislation Committee of the Buffalo Common Council.
The six pillars of Cariol’s Law are a mandatory statute requiring law enforcement personnel to intervene, punishments for officers who neglect their duty to intervene, protections for officers who intervene, punishments for law enforcement personnel who falsify reports, policies regarding officers who are terminated and department funding, and retroactive whistleblower protections.
Buffalo activist and entrepreneur Phylicia Dove ’09 has joined Horne’s effort to pass Cariol’s Law. She serves on Horne’s communications team, where she has led a grassroots effort to educate Buffalo community members about the proposed legislation.
Open to the public, the event took place in front of the Public Safety Building at 255 Exchange Street. The event was cosponsored by the HWS Department of Anthropology, Africana Studies, the Genocide and Human Rights Symposium and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, as well as the Peoples Peaceful Protest group in Geneva.