Let's make sure cops who stand up for true justice have our support. If you're moved by this story, go sign here.
All Cariol Horne wants is her pension back.
The former Buffalo, New York police officer says she was fired in 2008 after attempting to stop her colleague, officer Gregory Kwiatkowski, from choking a handcuffed suspect. According to Horne, Kwiatkowski responded by punching Horne in the face, a blow that forced her to have a bridge in her mouth replaced.
Because of the altercation, Horne was charged with obstruction of an officer, fired from her job and lost her pension after over 20 years on the force.
"I think it was the right thing to do because it would have stopped him from doing it to other people," Horne told A+. "At the time I was just trying to stop him from being out of control which would have saved his job and saved Neal Mack, but I was the one who was punished for it."
After Horne was fired in 2008, local news station WKBW reports that officer Kwiatkowski kept his job until he was forced to retire after a series of three incidents: choking an officer while on duty, another incident where he punched an officer while he was not working, and finally — in a story that made some waves — for allegedly holding down and shooting an unarmed black teenager with a BB gun. When Kwiatkowski retired he received his pension.
Horne, a single mother who has five children and 12 grandchildren, has been working as a truck driver to support her family. This after stints as a school bus driver and a bus driver on the University of Buffalo's campus.
In early January, she slipped and fell on ice and has not been able to work for a month. She says she has no regrets except that she is without the pension that she had been working towards for 20 years of honorable time on the force.
"I just want to be able to take care of my kids, that's one of the worst feelings I've ever had," Horne said. "I had to go to a charity to get stuff for them for Christmas."
Horne's case is now making some waves in Buffalo, where a group of clergymen has successfully put pressure on the mayor to reopen her case. For now, though, you can help Horne by signing her petition on Change.org.
With just a quick signature, you can join the thousands of people fighting for her to get her pension back, and simultaneously hold the police accountable for their purported actions.
"A lot of officers nowadays are being accused of police brutality or even killing people," Horne said. "But for whatever reason, they get off."
Change.org contributed to this post.