DA wants out of police brutality case

Citing a possible conflict of interest, Erie County prosecutors want the probe into the arrest of man punched in face by a Buffalo police officer handled by a DA from another county

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn has requested that his office be recused in an investigation to determine whether two Buffalo police officers – Ronald Ammerman and Michael Scheu – should be criminally charged for using excessive force, Investigative Post has learned.

Sources told Investigative Post that Flynn’s office is making the argument there is a conflict of interest because it’s also prosecuting Quentin Suttles, a man arrested during the incident. Suttles was charged with tampering with evidence as well as resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration and two traffic infractions. 

Multiple videos of Suttles’ May 10 arrest have been released, including body camera footage and witness cell phone video. In it, Ammerman can be seen punching Suttles in the head a number of times while Scheu searches his pocket. Suttles suffered a broken shoulder blade and eye socket during the event.

He retained an attorney who Thursday filed a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit against the city, its police department and its commissioner, and the two officers involved. The claim alleges racial profiling and excessive use of force; Suttles is black, the two officers white.

The DA’s office and the Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit are investigating the incident. It is unknown which county will pick up the case and likely to be determined by a judge next week, according to sources. 

In the meantime, both Ammerman and Scheu remain on the job and have retained attorneys. 

This story is a companion to a report by Steve Brown of WGRZ, based in part on a press conference held Friday by the attorney representing Suttles.