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Buffalo officer under investigation over road rage case is subject of lawsuit

Cedric Littlejohn is a Buffalo police officer. But his problems seem to occur off duty.

Police already are investigating an allegation that he smashed a man’s head into a truck window during a road rage incident while he was off duty.

And it turns out he also is at the center of a lawsuit that he broke a man’s nose at a bar three years ago while working off duty as a security officer there.

Derrick T. Anderson contends that Littlejohn punched and kicked him in the face and head, breaking his nose, Jan. 26, 2013, outside the former Sinful Nightclub on Delaware Avenue.

Video from the security system of the nightclub shows the off-duty Littlejohn, wearing his police uniform, grab and punch a man twice near the club’s front door.

The confrontation continued on the sidewalk on Delaware, outside the view of the security camera. Brittany Penberthy, who represents Anderson, contacted The Buffalo News and provided a copy of the security video after Littlejohn was accused late last week in a road rage incident.

The department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating the alleged road rage incident. He remains on duty as that investigation continues.

In the video of the incident outside Sinful in 2013, Anderson does not appear to offer resistance to the off-duty officer, who grabs and breaks his gold chain while striking him a second time.

The confrontation started when security asked him to leave because he had an unlit cigarette, Anderson told police.

Anderson, now 27, filed a police report after getting treated at the emergency room at Buffalo General Hospital for a broken nose and back spasms. Several days later, he filed a complaint with the department.

The lawsuit was filed in March 2014. The case is still in the discovery phase and the next court appearance is scheduled for mid-July before State Supreme Court Justice John F. O’Donnell.

Penberthy said she is not aware of any discipline Littlejohn faced for the 2013 incident.

“The city needs to step up. [Internal Affairs] needs to take action,” she said.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said he is prohibited by law from discussing Internal Affairs cases.

The city and the Buffalo Police Department are named as co-defendants in Anderson’s lawsuit. The suit also names the property owner and the company that operated the club. The city recently turned the video over as part of the discovery phase of Anderson’s lawsuit.

Derenda ended the department’s practice of allowing officers to work outside local bars while off-duty in May 2014. At the time, about 20 officers’ off-duty work permits were pulled.

Derenda’s order followed shortly after an attack in Molly’s Pub where a bar manager fatally injured a man by throwing him down stairs at the Main Street bar. William C. Sager Jr., 28, died 2½ months later. Two off-duty police officers who had been working security at the bar were on the premises at the time of the attack.

Any practice of off-duty officers working for bars violates state law, the State Liquor Authority said at the time.

Michael J. DeGeorge, spokesman for Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, declined to comment citing ongoing litigation in the matter.

Littlejohn, 47, was hired by the department in September 1995, according to city payroll records.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com

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