The Walden Avenue man who claims embattled Police Officer Cariol J. Horne saved his life said Tuesday that one white male officer choked him and another used brass knuckles to beat him in the groin during that incident at his home 12 months ago.
David Neal Mack, 55, will be the next defense witness when Horne's disciplinary hearing resumes Nov. 19.
During a break in Tuesday's proceedings, Mack insisted Officer Gregory Kwiatkowski had him in a choke hold shortly after the officer and a colleague with brass knuckles subdued him in his home the morning of Nov. 1, 2006.
"I couldn't breathe until she intervened," said Mack. Obstruction and other charges lodged against him that day were dismissed later by City Judge Debra L. Givens. He's now suing the city.
In testimony Tuesday before hearing officer Thomas Rinaldo, Mack's sons, Lavardis, 30, and Larsenio, 17, both said they saw their father being beaten with brass knuckles by the officer assisting Kwiatkowski after police barged into their home.
Afterward, Police Department attorney Diane T. O'Gorman insisted that no Buffalo police officers carry brass knuckles.
The disciplinary hearing could lead to the firing of Horne, 39, a nearly 20-year police veteran still on paid injured-on-duty status over the incident. She was hit with a variety of departmental charges after physically intervening because, she says, Kwiatkowski was choking Mack. Horne was the only officer involved in the incident brought up on departmental charges.
Mack is African-American, as is Horne; Kwiatkowski is white. Mack, the brother of Buffalo Police Officer Marilyn Mack, and his two sons said they did not know Horne prior to last year's incident.
During the hearing, Lavardis Mack testified that after Horne went to the aid of his father in the driveway, he heard "words exchanged" between two groups of police officers about what happened. He also said he never saw Horne jump on Kwiatkowski's back or strike Kwiatkowski as others alleged.
Lavardis Mack also told the hearing officer that the police transcript of his interview falsely claims he said he never saw his father being choked.
"It says here I said 'no,' but that's not true," he testified as he held the transcript O'Gorman gave him. "I seen my father being choked."
That prompted Anthony L. Pendergrass and Kenneth Nixon, Horne's attorneys, to question the accuracy of the Police Department's printed transcripts.
Earlier Tuesday, the 5-foot, 1-inch Horne completed two days on the witness stand by confirming police reports that Mack was "acting wild" and was pepper-sprayed inside his house and that she helped other officers push him out. Horne also said officers "were struggling" with Mack in his driveway before she saw Kwiatkowski grab him in a choke hold.
Horne testified that she told Kwiatkowski, "Greg, you're choking him," and when Kwiatkowski "didn't let go, then I grabbed his arm." She said that prompted the 6-foot-2 Kwiatkowski to punch her in the face.