The city of Buffalo recently released a video depicting a jail attendant brutally assaulting a handcuffed inmate without physical provocation after approving a $300,000 settlement to the victim. The Buffalo News and 7 Eyewitness News previously filed a lawsuit against the city in order to force the public release of the video.
Recorded on surveillance videos in May 2016, jail attendant Matthew Jaskula shoved Shaun Porter face-first into a metal door at the city lockup. Porter immediately fell to the floor as his face struck the ledge of a shelf, before Jaskula dragged him along the floor into an empty cell 10 to 15 feet away.
According to the video, Buffalo police officers Joshua Craig and Anthony D’Agostino watched the beating but did not intervene. One of the officers can be seen laughing during the assault as they followed Jaskula down the hallway.
Porter was forced to stand in a puddle of his own blood while jail attendants removed his clothing. Strapped into a restraint chair with a spit mask over his face, Porter was left in an empty cell without medical attention for more than 90 minutes.
After complaining of chest pains, Porter was later transported to Erie County Medical Center and treated for nasal bone fractures and a laceration between his nose and right eye.
In May 2017, Jaskula pled guilty to the crime of willfully depriving another of their constitutional rights under color of law resulting in bodily injury. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Officers D’Agostino and Craig each received a 30-day suspension without pay. Both returned to duty in 2016 without criminal charges filed against them.
Shortly after the Buffalo Common Council approved a $300,000 settlement to Porter, the city publicly released the surveillance footage of the brutal attack against him.
“We are very pleased that the City of Buffalo has finally released the tape,” said Mickey Osterreicher, the attorney representing 7 Eyewitness News with the law firm Barclay Damon, LLP. “It is unfortunate that it has taken all this time and legal wrangling for the taxpayers to finally get to view this incident. Channel 7 and The Buffalo News should be commended for their efforts in making this tape public. The important thing to remember is that the first amendment protects not only the press’ right to gather and disseminate information, but the public’s right to receive it.”
“This kind of incident does create a blemish. It is painful to watch,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown stated during a recent press conference. “And if it looks like there is any criminal behavior, this police department and this administration will be pushing for termination of that individual or individuals.”