Updated: 1:55 p.m.
The Buffalo police lieutenant suspended last week for his vile insult of a woman filming him has previously been suspended four times during his career and been the subject of 36 misconduct complaints lodged by citizens or the department. Twelve involve inappropriate use of force; three have involved domestic incidents.
Investigative Post obtained the disciplinary records of Lt. Michael A. DeLong under the state Freedom of Information Law. His “disciplinary card” lists a 30 day suspension in November 2018 for an unspecified “domestic” incident; a one-day suspension the year before for a violation of procedures; a one-day suspension in 2014 for off-duty misconduct; and a two-day suspension in 2009 for excessive use of force. All suspensions were without pay.
View DeLong’s disciplinary record here
Records show that, in addition, he’s received two formal reprimands and been called into six conferences with the police commissioner, deputy commissioner or other supervisor that typically involve an informal reprimand.
DeLong is currently serving a 30 day suspension without pay after calling a woman a “disrespectful little fucking cunt” on a video widely viewed on social media. The incident occurred June 28 in the parking lot of a West Side convenience store where police responded to a report of a man having a mental health crisis.
Ruweyda Salim, the woman who shot the video of DeLong on her cell phone, raised objections to the manner in which the police were handling the situation. DeLong insulted Salim, told her to move along, and followed a vehicle she was a passenger in when she left, pulling the car over when it went down the wrong way down a one-day street.
“That’s just negligence on the Buffalo police department’s part,” Salim told Investigative Post upon learning about prior complaints launched against DeLong.
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Documents show DeLong has been investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs unit 36 times since he joined the force. Twelve involve complaints of inappropriate use of force.
A complaint in 2008 resulted in a two-day suspension without pay. DeLong was reprimanded in one case; another was handled in an unspecified administrative fashion. In five other cases, records show DeLong was summoned to a conference with the commissioner or a deputy commissioner.
DeLong was cleared in two of the 12 cases; in three cases Internal Affairs determined the charges were “not sustained,” which police sources said means there is not sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations.
Three other charges involve domestic incidents. There was a complaint involving domestic violence in 2005 and another in 2017 involving an unspecified domestic matter. Investigators issued a “not sustained” ruling in both cases.
Sixteen charges brought by the department involved complaints of unspecified conduct or failure to comply with procedures. Two were sustained, including a 2017 charge involving sick time that resulted in a one-day suspension without pay and a 2014 charge that resulted in a reprimand.
Most of the remaining conduct and procedural charges were not sustained, which again means the allegation was neither proved nor disproved.
DeLong could not be reached for comment.
John Evans, president of the Police Benevolent Association, noted that DeLong has served penalties for prior infractions and that the only open departmental investigation into him involves the comments he made to Salim.
“That’s under two complaints a year,” Evans wrote in a text message. “I have no idea as to what was sustained but whatever was, he paid for. Same as [how] a criminal’s past history is kept out of current trials, same goes for cops.”
Records show DeLong, a Hamburg resident, joined the police department’s training academy in July 2000. He was promoted to lieutenant in April 2012. He started his career out of B District, whose station is located in the Theater District, in January 2001 after graduating from the academy.
DeLong was transferred to E District, on Bailey Avenue in the city’s East Side, in 2004. He spent time working on the Mobile Response Unit before being promoted to a lieutenant. He has been working out of the B District precinct again since May 2013. He is also a member of the department’s dive team.
City payroll records show he earned $151,400 for the fiscal year ending June 30.
The Erie County district attorney’s office reports there are no public records for DeLong, however, a source told Investigative Post files relating to cases involving him have been sealed.
DeLong’s disciplinary history was not subject to disclosure under the FOI Law until Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature amended to 50-A law in June. The law had been criticized for years as shielding police disciplinary records from public view and, by extension, protecting law enforcement officers with a history of citizen complaints against them.