Officer Terrence Robinson, convicted of shooting to death a handcuffed man, will be suspended without pay Monday from the Buffalo Police Department and dropped from the force the day a judge sentences him, police officials said today.
Chief of Detectives Angelo P. Alessandra said Robinson, 35, will be served with formal suspension orders Monday morning.
Robinson has been assigned to administrative duties at police headquarters since the fatal shooting of Anthony Williams, 20, on Oct. 22. Robinson was not on duty when the shooting occurred.
Police officials, including Commissioner Ralph V. Degenhart, discussed Robinson's status today but had no immediate comment, Alessandra said.
Following three hours of deliberations, Robinson was found guilty as charged Thursday afternoon of a single count of second-degree manslaughter for reckless conduct in the fatal shooting of Williams about 3 a.m. Oct. 22 on Fillmore Avenue near Main Street.
Williams died three days later of the head wound.
The State Supreme Court jury got the case after a nine-day trial.
Witnesses testified that Williams, who had been stopped for a traffic offense by another off-duty officer, was handcuffed and pinned to the trunk of his car when Robinson pointed his .38-caliber service revolver to his head and fired a single shot.
A five-year police veteran and former Marine, Robinson had telephoned police superiors four hours before the shooting, claiming he was too sick to work his late-night patrol shift.
He faces a prison term of one to 15 years and automatic dismissal from the police force.
Robinson stood straight and displayed no emotions as the verdict was announced to Justice Julian F. Kubiniec shortly before 4:30 p.m.
Robinson, who had returned to police duty in May 1989 after seeking medical treatment for a drinking problem, was allowed to remain free without bail, pending sentencing Aug. 8.
After remaining in the courtroom almost an hour after the verdict, Robinson and his brother, Michael, 33, who was dismissed from the state police in 1983 on allegations of drug dealing, ran from reporters. Their mother, Katherine Robinson, a former Buffalo and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police official, declined to comment.
The members of the jury also declined to comment.
Debrina Harris, Williams' fiance; Dorothy, his mother, and Willie Alli son, his grandfather, said they were upset because the judge did not jail Robinson before sentencing and because the maximum prison term is 15 years.
"He can't get enough time for what he did," Mrs. Williams said. "He had no right pulling that gun. My son is gone; he didn't deserve to die like that. We don't need that kind of a cop."
Mrs. Williams and Allison said they expect Robinson to spend several years in prison at the most.
"It doesn't seem like justice to me," Allison said. "That was just cold-blooded murder."
Ms. Harris, the mother of Williams' 7-month-old daughter, Shiheda Jana, said she has hired a lawyer to sue the city and Robinson.
"He killed a person, and he's going to walk off," Ms. Harris said.
She said she would be "satisfied" only if he receives the maximum 15-year term.
District Attorney Kevin M. Dillon insisted the shooting represented an "isolated incident" and didn't reflect on the integrity of the Police Department.
"This is a case involving one man, one night, one occurrence," Dillon said.
The district attorney and Albert M. Ranni, the prosecutor in the case, said they weren't sure whether the district attorney's office would make a sentencing recommendation.
Edward C. Cosgrove, Robinson's attorney, said his client took the conviction "very well."
Robinson was penalized 26 days without pay on Police Department charges for violating sick-call procedures. He loses all police benefits because of the felony conviction.
Williams, according to testimony, had been stopped by off-duty Police Officer Jonathan Walton, 34, after his car struck a parked car on Fillmore Avenue, then stalled. Robinson came to the aid of Walton, who was working a restaurant security job, when Walton and Williams began scuffling.
Vincent Smith, a Fillmore Avenue bar bouncer, helped the officers subdue Williams.
Eyewitnesses said that after Williams was handcuffed and pinned to the trunk of his car, Robinson drew his service revolver, put the barrel of the weapon to the man's head and told him that if he moved, he would "blow your (expletive) brains out." An instant later, the shot was fired.