The Buffalo Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation following an incident in which a police lieutenant was seen on video calling a woman a vulgar phrase as she recorded video of police officers.
The video, posted on multiple social media sites on Monday afternoon, shows a scene outside a convenience store. A written description posted with the video describes it as happening Sunday outside a 7-Eleven.
The woman taking the video is apparently upset about the size of the police response to the scene. She described the incident as involving a person who appeared to be impaired, while police in the video described the man as in possession of drug paraphernalia and who had allegedly been violent.
In a 5-minute, 18-second video posted to Facebook – some of which was edited to compile footage from over a longer period of time – Lt. Michael DeLong is shown walking up to and standing very close to the woman as she is recording video.
"We have cameras, too," DeLong says.
"OK. Get away from me. Can you get away from me?" the woman says.
"No," he replies.
"Why?" she says.
"Move me," he says.
"I'm not going to move you, but you can get away from me, though," she responds.
"No," he says.
"You can get away from me," she says.
"No, I don't," he says.
"Personal space," she says.
"Excuse me," he responds.
The exchange continues, with DeLong telling the woman taking the video about the alleged crimes of the man at the scene that led to the police response.
"There's no need for all these policemen to handle someone who is on drugs," she said.
At least 10 police officers could be seen in the video.
"He doesn't have to talk to you," she tells DeLong, referring to the man outside the store.
Then DeLong calls the woman "a disrespectful little..." and uses a two-word vulgar phrase before walking in front of her.
"Thank you. You're going to be viral," the woman tells him.
After he uses the derogatory phrase, DeLong also tells the woman to get off a public sidewalk.
He tells the woman the man is going to be taken to the hospital.
"I don’t care if I go viral," DeLong says. "I really don’t."
DeLong also asks the woman where she works and tells her "I'm going to come to your work and sit there and tape you."
Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood has ordered an immediate internal affairs investigation into the matter, Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said.
Rinaldo confirmed the lieutenant's identity as DeLong. He said he did not have any further detail about when and where the incident took place.
Rinaldo said DeLong has been suspended without pay.
For much of the video, the man at the scene who police were called to respond to was outside the store with his back to the front door. Several officers kept their distance from the man and they did not have any weapons drawn.
The video ends with the man getting ready to be loaded into an ambulance. The video was posted to Facebook at 1:26 p.m. and the post had been viewed more than 36,000 times in less than six hours.
In another Facebook post published early Monday night, the woman posted a picture of DeLong standing outside the driver's side window of a vehicle in which she appeared to be a passenger. She alleged DeLong pulled the vehicle over after they left the 7-Eleven.
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