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Buffalo officer suspended after New Year's Eve chase ends in 3-car crash

Buffalo officer suspended after New Year's Eve chase ends in 3-car crash

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A Buffalo police officer has been suspended after a New Year's Eve car chase ended in a three-vehicle crash leaving four people, including the officer's partner, with minor injuries.

Majed Ottman

Buffalo police officer Majed Ottman.

Shortly before 10:15 p.m. Dec. 31, Officer Majed Ottman, a patrol officer in the Northeast District station on Bailey Avenue, attempted to stop Andre Thomas, 27, of Buffalo for a traffic infraction.

Thomas did not stop, according to a police report, and continued to drive north at a high rate of speed on Cornwall Avenue.

Ottman was pursuing Thomas in a patrol vehicle when, according to a police accident report, Thomas failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Cornwall and East Delavan Avenue. Thomas' vehicle struck a car that was westbound on East Delavan.

Ottman "was unable to stop and then did strike" Thomas' vehicle, the police report.

Four people from the scene were taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, including Thomas' passenger, the two people in the vehicle that was going west on East Delavan and Ottman's partner, who was in the passenger seat of the patrol car. All of the victims were treated and released.

Thomas was arrested and charged with multiple misdemeanors including obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, fleeing a police officer. He was cited for speeding and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.  

The Buffalo Police Department has a no-chase policy. Officers are not allowed to engage in car chases unless there's a serious, violent felony.

Sources said Ottman was suspended for allegedly failing to adhere to the department's pursuit policy and an internal affairs investigation was underway.

When reached for comment, Capt. Jeff Rinaldo confirmed the suspension.

"The Buffalo Police Department takes any potential violation of policies or procedures seriously and will investigate accordingly," he said.

Ottman has been in the news before.

In April, he shot a car theft suspect in the hand as she allegedly tried to hit him as she was fleeing. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn cleared Ottman of wrongdoing in that incident.

In 2019, Ottman and another police officer were credited with saving the life of a little girl who was not breathing after being found in a backyard pool.

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Chief of the Breaking News/Criminal Justice Desk

I've worked at The Buffalo News since 2005. I previously worked as a reporter at the New York Daily News and the Charlotte Observer and was a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

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