A policewoman saves a man's life while on duty and is fired: 15 years later she gets justice

Alison Forde

May 13, 2021

A policewoman saves a man's life while on duty and is fired: 15 years later she gets justice
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Strenuously fighting for what we deem right always pays off, even if it may take some time before justice takes its course. There are many stories of perseverance that end with an unexpected happy ending, and the one we want to tell you today is just one of these incredible and exciting true stories. Meet Cariol Horne, a retired US policewoman who waited 15 years before being finally reinstated and exonerated.

via CBS News

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CBS News/YouTube

Cariol Horne had always worked as a police officer in Buffalo, United States, but 2006 was the year that changed her life definitively and that put her through moments of true hell: in November of that year, Cariol showed up with her other fellow agents at the scene of an arrest, but she knew perfectly well that something was wrong ...

Her colleague Gregory Kwiatkowski had handcuffed his suspect but not before repeatedly punching him and holding him in a suffocating grip to make sure he couldn't move or run away; Cariol knew that her colleague's behavior was totally unacceptable, so she confronted Gregory head-on and took him by the collar, trying to save the life of Neal Mack, the suspect he was in serious danger of suffocating in the meantime ...

CBS News/YouTube

For this gesture of simple human dignity and ethics, Cariol was suspended from her post as a policewoman in Buffalo, one year before her expected retirement from the force; but the worst was yet to come, because her colleague Gregory then sued her for defamation and even won his case: $65,000 in pecuniary and moral compensation.

At that moment, Cariol was plunged into one of the darkest times of her life: "My life was turned upside down, I no longer had a home, I had no money, I was destitute, I suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder because of the accident. It was just awful!"

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CBS News/YouTube

But in 2018, things began to change: Gregory Kwiatkowski was indicted for the crime of "unreasonable physical force" committed against four black teenagers in 2009, and was sentenced to four months in federal prison for this action, while a judge finally overturned the sentence on Cariol Horne, establishing that she had acted in the correct way back in 2006: she could finally recover the salary lost after her dismissal and her pension: "It is absolutely wonderful that after 15 years I can now breathe a little bit easier!"

Now Cariol is pushing for legislation called Cariol Law (Carol's Law), which would allow police officers to intervene if their colleague was becoming too violent towards a crime suspect. A small step towards raising legitimate universal values such as work ethic and human dignity.

We salute you Cariol!

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