Last summer, Buffalo Police Officer Richard Hy — a.k.a. the “Angry Cop,” notorious for posting satirical videos online — is accused of letting his anger get the best of him.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court, Curtis Lee Dean, of Buffalo, claims Hy intentionally backed his patrol car into Dean’s motorcycle at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Edward Street in June 2021.
Dean was riding with a group of motorcyclists, whom Hy decided to pursue several blocks through the city’s West Side, according to a WGRZ News report on the incident.
Some riders took off to get away from Hy. Dean claimed he did not. Hy pulled around some riders, Dean told WGRZ’s Claudine Ewing, so that Dean was behind Hy’s patrol car when they stopped at a red light at Delaware and Edward.
Hy then backed into Dean’s motorcycle, knocking over both bike and rider.
A witness’s cellphone video of the incident’s aftermath shows Dean handcuffed on the ground, his motorcycle on its side and Hy’s patrol car in the middle of the street, lights flashing. Another officer stands by the curb.
Hy, hands on knees, leans over Dean. “I was trying to stop you because you’re acting like an asshole,” Hy says in the cellphone video.
“I was behind you. How am I running from you?” Dean replies, then looks to the second officer. “From behind? Does that make sense?”
“I could have easily been killed,” Dean told WGRZ’s Ewing. “What would have happened if I was trapped under the police car or anything like that?”
Employing a vehicle to subdue a subject “may be construed as the use of deadly physical force,” according to the Buffalo Police Department’s use-of-force policy. The policy prohibits the use of deadly force unless “necessary to defend the Officer or third person from what the Officer reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.”
Hy, who last year earned $87,679, has earned a high profile for mishaps and allegations of misconduct since joining the department in 2012.
He was suspended for 22 days in 2016, charged with violating the department’s social media policy. Hy’s “Angry Cops” spoofs, posted on the now defunct video-sharing site Vine, mimicked cocaine use, police shootings and police interrogation techniques, among other risque subject matter.
Also in 2016, Hy was arrested by West Seneca police and charged with harassment and choking. He was accused of headbutting a teen-ager while off-duty. He was fined, sentenced to 50 hours of community service and ordered to stay away from the victim. The altercation earned him a second suspension.
That same year he and a partner were involved in a dramatic car accident near ECMC, which left their patrol vehicle on its side.
In June 2020, Hy joined fellow members of the department’s Emergency Response Team who resigned en masse after two of their number were suspended and charged with felony assault for pushing protester Martin Gugino to the ground during a protest in front of City Hall. The officers eventually were cleared of departmental and criminal charges.
Later that month, Hy was part of the police response to a drunken fight between state Supreme Court Justice Mark Grisanti and his neighbors, which led to Grisanti shoving an officer to the ground. Police body-cam footage caught Hy angrily lecturing the judge for trying to use his position and name-dropping in order to avoid arrest for his role in the brawl.
In September of that same year, Hy — off-duty, dressed in military fatigues — was caught on cellphone video punching a man on Elmwood Avenue, wrestling him to the ground and sitting on him until on-duty cops arrived.
These and other exploits landed Hy on the Erie County District Attorney’s “Brady-Giglio list” of officers whose past conduct might undermine their credibility on the witness stand. Being on the list does not preclude officers from being called to testify, but the DA must inform defense attorneys of their disciplinary record.
Michael DeGeorge, the department’s spokesperson, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. Dean’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. A message sent to Hy via his Angry Cops website was not acknowledged.
Dean is suing Hy, the Buffalo Police Department and the City of Buffalo for injuries suffered and damage to his motorcycle, according to the complaint filed Tuesday afternoon, “and for such other, further or different relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”