Governor Signs Legislation Providing Retroactive Retirement Benefits to Former Buffalo Officer Cariol Horne
New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced the signing of legislation (S.7209/A.8026) which provides former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne, who was rendered ineligible to file for service retirement benefits when she was wrongfully terminated from the City of Buffalo Police Department. Though the termination was corrected and she was reinstated, the termination meant she was ineligible for retirement benefits. The legislation grants Ms. Horne service credit from the date of her wrongful termination until August 5, 2010, which allows her to receive her proper retirement benefits.
“New York owes Cariol Horne a debt of gratitude for her service to the Buffalo community and for her bravery in a moment of crisis,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to sign this law, which will correct a longstanding injustice and ensure that Officer Horne is treated with the dignity and respect she deserves.”
Cariol Horne was fired from the Buffalo Police Department in 2008, after intervening on a police officer who had placed a handcuffed suspect into a chokehold in 2006. The firing was just months before she was eligible to qualify for the police’s retirement plan. Since then, she faced a legal battle that vindicated her. Cariol became an advocate for police reform, inspiring laws such as “Cariol’s Law”, which requires officers to intervene in the event of excessive force being used.
The legislation goes into effect immediately, and will allow Ms. Horne to apply for the New York State and local police retirement system’s retirement benefits.
Senator Timothy Kennedy said, “Thank you to Cariol Horne for her unwavering service to our community and her refusal to stand by and watch injustice occur, no matter the cost. After years of being penalized for doing the right thing, I was proud to sponsor this legislation to provide her with the retirement pension she earned and deserves. Thank you to my colleague Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes for ensuring this bill passed the Assembly and Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”
Assembly member Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “Cariol Horne, A former Buffalo police officer, showed profiles in courage when in a decisive moment, she chose to act to intervene against another officer in an unreasonable use of force towards a civilian. Her act of bravery cost Officer Horne her career. Fortunately, justice has prevailed. This legislation that I successfully sponsored and passed in the NYS Assembly will help bring a positive ending to this situation and provide Ms. Horne with all the retirement benefits she is rightfully deserving of receiving. I would like to applaud Governor Kathy Hochul and my cosponsor NYS Senator Tim Kennedy for their leadership in helping to correct this injustice that garnered national attention amid a period of social unrest.”