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Peace Marcher Beaten and Maced by NFTA Police

Last Friday’s peace march in downtown Buffalo ended in tears for activist Nate Buckley, courtesy of a dose of pepper spray administered directly into his eyes. Bruises, too, courtesy of the officer’s nightstick.

Buckley was one of 70 or so peace activists who assembled in Lafayette Square Friday afternoon to march, sing, and make speeches protesting the country’s wars at home and abroad. They marched to City Hall, to the FBI office on Niagara, to the federal building on Elmwood, then down Chippewa to Main Street, finishing outside the M&T Bank building at Main and Chippewa. The protesters chose the bank as their endpoint because, as organizers explained in a statement on Monday, “the huge financial conglomerate has made substantial investments in ‘defense,’ providing material support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya.”

Buckley says that the number of marches had dwindled to 30 or 40 by the time they reached the bank’s plaza, where there were more speakers and more singing and chanting of anti-war slogans. A bank employee asked the marchers to step off bank property, and Buckley says they complied—but not quickly enough for the employee, apparently, because she called the police. Several NFTA police officers soon arrived.

One, named Russo, was immediately confrontational, according to Buckley. Another, named Capozzi, was more reasonable and tried to defuse what became a tense situation.

When one of the more confrontational officers took out his Taser, Buckley says he and other protesters began to walk away on the sidewalk, but an officer tackled Buckley and dragged him back on to bank property. There, Buckley says, he was struck with a nightstick.

Video of Buckley’s arrest (above) shows one of the officers fumbling in his belt for his pepper spray while Russo holds Buckley, who is standing calmly against a wall, offering no apparent resistance. The crowd is chanting, “Let him go!” The officer with the pepper spray, who is standing behind Buckley, reaches over Buckley’s head and sprays him directly in the eyes.

Eventually Buckley was handcuffed and taken away in a squad car. In car, Buckley says, one of the officers said that he should have just shot Buckley in the head. Another officer agreed, adding, “And I’d sleep like a baby.”

NFTA Police have not returned a call requesting comment on the incident.

Buckley has been charged with four class A misdemeanors (inciting to riot, riot in the second degree, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration), a class B misdemeanor (unlawful assembly), and six violations (one count of trespass and five counts of disorderly conduct). Two other demonstrators were arrested as well. They will be arraigned in City Court, Part 2 (50 Delaware Avenue) at 9:30am on Friday, April 15.

Tax day.

  • EA Farmer

    Real law enforcement, Buffalo PD, EC Sheriff or State Police would have handled this situation professionally. Unfortunately, the NFTA hires from the bottom of the job banks. The lea

  • the eyes have it

    why mace a non-resistant person from behind ? i think that could be assault and inciting to riot

  • Joe

    Thanks for posting this artvoice. It’s nice to have a news service in this town that will post the real news without worrying about offending people, unlike the others that made a story of the rally without including anything about the police brutality.

  • wait a minute!

    One- show more of the video, go back and show how he ended up against the building
    Two- they have clearly tried to get him to put his hands behind his back, as he is against the wall, and he is clearly refusing to do so, so he got the spray
    Three- big deal he got some pepper spray in his face, they could have clubbed his ass
    & Four- stupid hippies piss me off, I guarantee he was asking for this, he looks annoying as hell

  • Brandon

    One – The police had made it very difficult to get any amazing quality footage, but what you see here should easily give you an idea of what would qualify as police brutality.
    Two – Use your eyes, buddy. He is very calmly standing there, in the restraint of 2 policemen. When suddenly the cop with the mace seems to go berzerk and sprays him.
    Three – Learn to read. They DID strike him against the wall and with their nightsticks. Have you ever been sprayed with mace? Obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about.
    Four – You’re obviously some loser that doesn’t know shit about the world, and any opinions that at one point may have been valid are now void in the eyes of anyone with half a mind, do to your ridiculous intolerance. You sound annoying as hell.

    Everyone else with a stronger sense of the world can see this is a shame, and is happening everywhere. Thank you Nate, for standing tall and setting an example of strength and solidarity among us all.

  • Bob

    Need to get the facts straight. this idiot took a swing at the cops only then did they pepper spray him.

    This moron protesting high taxes has no job, lives at home with his parents and protests paying taxes? Really?

    He should have been tazered too he is a moron.

    Totally deserved what he got.

    Good for the police – protecting us from these idiots.

  • Wait a Minute

    Hey Brandon-
    Police brutality? Man you have a low pain threshold don’t you. Did they mush up his “hemp is the answer” pre-worn acid washed T-shirt? Yeah, big deal they are barely holding on to the idiot and he is clearly on private property as he is nowhere near the sidewalk, I know the area well and he is on the patio of M&T Bank. He and the mob of many lovely colored shirts has no right to be on private property he was asking for it, asking to have everyone look at him and asking to get arrested. What a douchebag!
    Again he is not calmly standing, they are trying to get his hands behind his back and he pushed off the wall trying to play to the stinking mob of patchouli oiled losers. Oh, I can just smell them from here, that is the worst stink the friggin’ world.
    Get a broader world view! War goes on and it is rarely the fault of some business, take it out on the people that matter. You must be one of these campus half-a-pusses that likes to dress up in the latest fashion of protest then go piss and moan about corporations and the end of the world. Just another sad f*ing excuse for an intellectual.

    F- you and your scum bag hippie crap.

  • Fred

    Problem here is Geoff writes bad articles. You can find on another very pro Buckley site, something about signing a petition about this event, the following:

    “Shortly before 6:30PM, an employee of M&T asked the protesters to get off the concrete feature that ran along the sidewalk, protesters initially chose not move. ”

    See the difference, “they chose not to move”, and therefore the question is how long did it take to get off the property and what transpired during that time? Right there is when one can decide if the police overreacted. The article above is all anti police and pro demonstrator and that makes it opinion and not news.
    Some day when Geoff writes an article where he actually digs into the events and gives an unbiased account, this issue can be better discussed on these threads.

  • bystander

    The problem is Bob is clearly is officer Russo and Fred some other informant for the NFTA or state. This is the problem, many “men” are stuck in the adolescent mind state for their whole life. They are choosen by the state to protect the status quo, like M&T bank. It is to bad the poor are pitted against each other and banks like M&T get 600 million dollars in bail out funds and pay nothing back and have no consequences. I don’t see any police action against any of the criminal wall street folks who rob the public blind, but mabey that would take some real courage, and integrity? Fight the rich not their wars.

  • Jim

    This wasn’t a bus stop, or a subway station, or the airport – so WTF is it any of the NFTA ‘cops’ business? Who the hell gave THEM jurisdiction over a sidewalk in front of a bank? This is total BS. Not that the Buffalo cops, sherrifs or troopers would have treated the protestors any differently.

  • JWright

    NFTA “police” bottom of the barrel indeed. They make SUNY cops look like Special Forces.

  • CG

    I wonder how the NFTA Police has jurisdiction in front of M&T Bank?

  • Getajob

    Well apparently those that read Artvoice aren’t too smart. NFTA has jurisdiction un 3 counties, and have the same authority as any other Police Agency. Secondly, a screaming crowd and a person trying to get at the police is not exactly how normal people would handle a situation. Also,this loser was trying to get away after being detained. Nice.

  • Brandon

    Hey, “wait a minute”, actually, I’m a black belt in martial arts and I take pain quite well. But that’s another story. Your insolence is really starting to disgust me. There was more done to him than you see in the small clip. The whole situation went on for upwards of twenty minutes. And of course he was on the patio of the bank, AFTER HE WAS TACKLED AND DRAGGED UP THERE. He, and almost everybody else was trying to leave shorty after the pigs had started getting confrontational. However the cops chose to escalate the situation further by tackling Nate. After seeing that, of course we stayed and tried to get him freed. I don’t know if scum bags like you know that kind of commitment to other humans. And you’re truely making a fool of yourself trying to generalize me, and all of us that day. You couldn’t be more wrong, and for your sake, you should stop.

  • Getajob

    What’s your rap sheet like, Brandon?

  • the eyes have it

    Police who mace an individual posing no imminent threat, from behind, are clearly unable to handle their job. The escalation of the situation in front of a crowd invites violent action.

    This crowd was exercising freedom of speech and assembly, two of the rights guaranteed under our Constitution. These people could be your neighbors, friends, family or children.

    Bob, Wait a Minute, and Getajob, you need not like the topic, or the dress or the perfume of the assembled, in order to respect their rights much as you are now within your rights expressing your tiny opinions.

  • Getajob

    Oh, So cops are not fathers, brothers or sons? The unattractive woman that tries to get to the Cops just makes things more tense. Do you not see the man trying to get away after?

  • Brandon

    I think unfortunately for the community, these cops ARE fathers, brothers or sons. I’m not positive of the numbers, but I am almost certain police are among the highest in homocide, suicide homocide, domestic abuse and rape. Not to mention the absurd amount of corruption. I’m not saying there’s no good cops, nobody I know truely thinks there’s not good cops out there. But when there IS a bad cop, it’ REALLY FREAKING BAD. They have so much power over their fellow man, and it’s disgusting how they tend to use it. I’m not sure who you think the “unattractive” woman here is, but the beautiful young woman who tries to step in after Nate gets maced has no effect on Nate’s situation, as the other cop stops her. And he just got maced directly in his eyes. I would very much like to see someone NOT try to struggle after having that done. Again, get your facts straight guys. I realize it may be hard to gather all the information from a 22 second clip, but try putting some pieces together for yourselves, rather than letting your ridiculous intolerances decide just because you don’t like us, we’re wrong.

  • Getajob

    Brandon, you are truly delusional. Must be nice living in your little dream world.

  • Brandon

    Actually, it kind of sucks. Putting up with garbage like this? Don’t you think I’d much rather be living a quiet carefree life on a beach or just camping out in some woods or something? But instead I try to argue these points, and do what I can for the BETTER of the public. Don’t you think Nate would have loved to have been somewhere else that day, chillin with friends with a few drinks or something? He didn’t ask to get beat by the police. He wasn’t there because he enjoys making a commotion in the streets. He was there because he saw an injustice in the world, and unlike most people in this country, cared enough to stand up and do something about it. So while you sit behind your computer screen trying to make fun of the people that are standing up for you and the good of the country, we’ll be out there doing what we think is right.

  • wait a minute!

    Black-belt-Bradon don’t like the pigs!

    Do you work out in front of your Burce Lee poster and imagine a roundhouse kick to the world?

    Too much dude, laughin my balls off, good luck grasshopper!

  • wait a minute!

    You know something else, if you’re all about action and making some difference you believe to be so righteous Mr. Blackbelt, why didn’t you step in and kick some pig ass like 1960’s old style? You’re all so full of spit and vinegar.

    Instead you stood back and let you buddy Nate get maced, and you did nothing but chant like a little girl!

    What a pussy.

  • Val

    What I see on the video is appalling….Buckley wasn’t fighting the NFTA police from what I saw. The young lady mentioned ran towards police when she saw what awful things they were doing. Seems to me this would be a natural reaction from a normal human being who saw such brutal treatment of someone. While it is awful what happened at the protest what is very concerning is what didn’t happen: a lot of media coverage. However you feel about the protestors, doesn’t it make you uneasy that something like this wasn’t given more press?

  • A longer, better-quality video of the incident has been uploaded for everyone to judge:

  • Getajob

    What exactly is so awful? There were no nightsticks, guns or tasers. You guys don’t have a clue.

  • Getajob

    Ok, I see some in the long video…after the idiot resists arrest. I thought this was a peaceful protest? GUESS NOT!

  • Wowzers

    Real nice people. “Fuck you guys” I thought you were peaceful? Hope that moron learned his lesson. That girl looks like a skunk lol.

  • wait a minute!

    Now that’s a video,, a little different from a guy just leaning against a wall. I see a bunch of cops calmly disbursing a crowd but a couple of guys want to get in a little face time, then there’s Nate getting up in the officers grill, don’t touch the officer son.

    He was looking for his big end to a big day and he got it.

    Best thing is this happened about 6:30 on a Friday in front of the bank, that equates to a closed empty bank. Why not Sunday monrning around 5:30am Nate? Smart fella.

  • Aaron Lowinger

    Too many personal attacks here confuses the issue.

    People have the right to assembly.

    If the cops wanted to arrest Nate Buckley, the could have put him in cuffs. There’s no reason to use pepper spray. The situation could have gotten so much worse. Police have a very hard job, but I don’t see why they need to think 40 protesters outside a bank needed to be confronted and engaged in this manner.

    It smells of bored cops looking for action.

  • Fred

    Geoff man where are you!??!?!?!
    I never met you but I am beginning to think you are a shut-in and you write these stories by blowing into a tube on the side of your head.

    All you had to do was look at the full video to see what went on at this thing, it is nothing like your story describes. Does the word integrity mean anything to Artvoice journalists? Stick to finding the next garage band.

  • KW

    Regardless of who is right or wrong, your highly edited clip stilts the facts to the protest side way too sharply.

  • bup-dingus

    NAFTA cops are bottom feeders who don’t deserve badges however… never touch a cop. Never get in their face and when they arrest you, dont run. This dumbass made every mistake he could… short of offering the cop some of his weed. The crow was NOT peaceful. Nothing peaceful about “fuck you”. Grow up kids. He was all the way wrong and deserved every bit of pepper spray that shot up his sinuses. NAFTA cops are still incompetent assholes. Real cops would have handled the situation better. Dumbasses walked right into a mob hahahahha!! These morons carry guns…

  • wait a minute!

    The cops are dumb, maybe, but look at the crowd. Look at the mess of signs, and best of all listen to the chant, on the long video, about how it is their sidewalk, they paid for it. What the hell is that?!?!?

    The freshmen team took the field on this one, and hence the results.

  • bup-dingus

    True. And I must add… the “hack” who wrote this article and loaded the 20 or so second clip also deserves a whack from a nightstick as well as some pepper spray up his ass. He managed to leave out the rest of the clip showing why this Buckley schmuck got arrested. No sympathy here. I’m disappointed because I really wanted another reason to hate NAFTA cops.

  • Thank you to all the positive intelligent people who commented here. If you are too much of a fascist, halfwit inbred to understand why this is wrong, try talking your moronic drivel when the shit hits the fan. It’s too bad I am a peaceful protester and not a psychic vampire, or I’d be in support of taking these idiots, chaining them up, beating them and pepper spraying them into submission.

  • I was there. He clearLy was not flailing about resisting arrest. He was beaten with a nightstick just seconds before this. He had done nothing different than the other 60 of us. He was chosen at random.

  • bup-dingus

    Chris is obviously another “peaceful protester”. The full video shows what would be considered an angry mob. It may have begun peaceful but didn’t end that way. I’m NO fan of NAFTA. I’m very liberal and I support freedom of speech and assembly. Weed should be legal and so should selling pussy for money. Stupid morons however are still stupid morons and those of you who can’t understand why this happened clearly have your heads up your asses. I’m on YOUR side but you’re never gonna go against police and win when they decide to arrest you. That’s common sense and you sheep need to learn that. This guy learned the hard way. One more moron off the street.

  • I see my last comments got deleted. I do not appreciate censorship. It says so much about ArtVoice that my last comment was deleted. Please do not do it again, it is not very democratic of you.

    Both videos explicitly show all officers LESS concerned with getting people “off the wall” (their initial declared purpose) than dispelling the protest itself by intimidating protesters. It is obvious to any intelligent person that if they had wanted to keep people off the wall and on the sidewalk, they could have. Instead they chose to provoke and attack, instead of protect and serve all interests.

  • And yes, I am peaceful protester. That is why I don’t support killing people with your taxes, or clubbing people to quell dissent. Welcome to America.

  • wait a minute!

    Chris, you nutty radical,why didn’t you, or anyone, help Nate?
    Fuckin pussy, you talk a big game, scream about your sidewalk, then do nothing but cringe when the cops have had enough of your crap.

    “When the shit hits the fan” you will likely have your head between your legs as it buries you alive.

    I can’t say enough that this could be the lamest gathering of idiots that ever graced the streets of Buffalo.

  • Sickened

    Artvoice Sucks. You made a hero out of a punk. He is clearly a gerk and had it coming. They antogonize. They were asked to move and the NFTA arrived before they did. You tell one side of the story. No wonder there were so few people there – decent people dont want to march with those assholes

  • Sickened

    watch this clip to see the whole situation – nate was begging for it. stupid, stupid, stupid “activists”

  • Buffalo News Editorial Board says ….

    Trouble at the NFTA — Use of force by one transit police officer is a threat to the agency’s reputation published April 21, 2011 in Buffalo News

    The head of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has a problem and she needs to deal with it. It could be a training issue or a problem with a single police officer or something more, but NFTA Executive Director Kimberly Minkel needs to identify it and get it under control before something worse happens.

    The issue, in a nutshell, is this: NFTA Police Officer Adam

    M. Brodsky pepper-sprayed an anti-war protester on April 8 and, judging from the YouTube video,without good cause. That’s bad enough, but cops have a difficult job and this crowd of protesters wasn’t exactly polite. Tempers can become frayed. Even a good cop can have an off day.

    Still, other cops in the video seemed to handle the situation professionally and this isn’t the first time Brodsky has been caught red-handed.

    In a recent nonjury trial, a City Court judge essentially decided that Brodsky gave false testimony against a 65-year-old man whom he claimed fought with him after being told he was under arrest for illegally using a bus station restroom.

    But Brodsky had an unexpected problem:A witness came forward. Dorothy Fuller testified that Brodsky’s claims were false. Not only did Enoch “Edsil”Cook not fight with the officer, she said, but he was violently pushed to the floor after Cook tried to prevent Brodsky from reaching into his pants pocket.

    Judge James A. W. McLeod acquitted Cook after a half-day trial, ruling that convicting him of anything would be a “miscarriage of justice.”

    So:A man who is allowed to carry a loaded weapon roughs up a 65-year-old, falsely testifies at his trial, is tacitly rebuked by the judge and then, is sent out to pepper-spray an already-subdued protester.

    The NFTA is circling the wagons around Brodsky, but there is clearly a problem here. At a minimum, the reputations of both the authority and its police department are at risk.

    As we said, cops have hard jobs. It takes tough-minded people to handle that job professionally and safely and most of them do. Sometimes, though, people are attracted to police work for the wrong reasons. Authority goes to their heads. They think the privilege of carrying a weapon makes them a law unto themselves.

    Minkel needs to be sure that’s not the case in the department she leads.

  • DJ

    Why don’t you post the entire video? This dude defined the word “resistant” with his kicking, spitting, etc.

    You have four officers on their own against “40” people. I think the officers did a terrific job by not macing or clubbing any more than this punk.

    PS: You can’t “pay for these sidewalks” unless you have a job. So technically these unemployed activists don’t own anything.


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