It’s a question in the George Floyd case and it's been one for decades, ‘why don’t officers step in when they see another police officer doing something wrong?’
"They're afraid to lose their livelihood," says Cariol Horne who was fired when she stepped in and she’s been fighting for change ever since.
"He had him (in a chokehold) and pretend like you’re me and I just grabbed his arm from around his neck," explains Horne.
That was 15 years ago in 2006 when, then, Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Horne responded to an officer in trouble call.
"When I got there the officer was punching a handcuffed man in the face. From what I know now he was being beaten in his groin so he was in the fetal position. He was beaten in the groin to where he was bloody," Horne explains.
She says the officer then put the bleeding, handcuffed man in a chokehold.
"I yelled to him ‘Greg you’re choking him.’" Horne says the officer then punched her in the face "and I have suffered from migraines until this day."
Horne ended up fired even though Neal Mack spoke out saying she saved his life. "He calls me his angel from heaven," Horne smiles.
Because she was months shy of her 20-year law enforcement anniversary, Horne wouldn’t even receive her police pension.
Last month a New York State Supreme Court Judge changed that.
"15 years later a judge said it’s always the right time to do the right thing and he overturned that decision to fire me. So now I’m eligible for a pension," Horne said.
In October, Cariol’s Law was signed by the Mayor of Buffalo making it mandatory there for officers to intervene "but it will also protect citizens because as you saw in the George Floyd case there were citizens who wanted to intervene".
Hours before this interview Horne also received an email she read to us from New York Senator James Sanders Jr.: "Who has introduced a bill named after you. The bill is modeled off of the law by the City of Buffalo. We hope you will support the bill. Thank you for your heroic efforts".
By the way, officer Greg KwiatkowskI, who Horne stopped from choking the suspect, on an unrelated case in 2018, was convicted and sentenced to four months in prison for Deprivation of Rights for using unlawful force on four suspects.
Horne says she’s for police reform and against chokeholds as a matter of policy and a go-to tool.
"I do understand that if you’re in a scuffle things can happen and if you’re in a fight for your life you have to do what you have to do," she explained.
Horne added that officers should not have the blanket security of qualified immunity.
"Not at all because it’s been abused," she concluded.
Horne says she won’t stop fighting until Cariol’s Law is a federal one.