University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation of the Buffalo Police Department PN-NY-0004
Docket / Court No Court Case ( No Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On September 19, 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ"), the City of Buffalo and its police department (collectively referred to as "BPD"), the Police Benevolent Association, Inc. ("PBA"), and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 264 ("Local 264") entered ... read more >
On September 19, 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ"), the City of Buffalo and its police department (collectively referred to as "BPD"), the Police Benevolent Association, Inc. ("PBA"), and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 264 ("Local 264") entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141 to resolve issues raised in the DOJ's investigation of the use of chemical agent propellant ("CAP") spray by officers of the BPD. The MOA called for changes which included the following:

- officer training in the use of CAP, including training in verbal de-escalation techniques as an alternative means of control;

- videotaping all uses of CAP in the department holding cells and prisoner processing areas;

- implementation of a system to record, track and analyze officer use of force and

- changes to the way citizen complaints were received, investigated and resolved.

The MOA required the parties to select an independent reviewer whose role was to review and report on a quarterly basis the BPD's implementation of and compliance with certain provisions in the MOA.

The MOA was set to terminate three years after its effective date, provided that the DOJ determined that the BPD had been in substantial compliance for at least one year, or unless modified by the parties. As of the date of this summary, it is not known if the agreement has yet been terminated.

Dan Dalton - 01/07/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Excessive force
Racial profiling
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Buffalo Police Department
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2002 - 2005
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum of Agreement Between the U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Buffalo, et al. 09/19/2002
PN-NY-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Buffalo Police Department to Resolve Police Misconduct Investigation 09/19/2002
PN-NY-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Amended Memorandum of Agreement 07/09/2007
PN-NY-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0001
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0002
Gonzalez, Gregory (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0002
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0002
Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0002
Murphy, Donna M. (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0001
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0001
Sanders, Corey M. (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0002
Supler, Blaise (District of Columbia)
PN-NY-0004-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Burton, Thomas H. (New York)
PN-NY-0004-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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