CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Matthew Jaskula, 26, of Buffalo, NY, was charged by criminal complaint with deprivation of rights under color of law. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“As our Office has demonstrated in the past, we will not tolerate the alleged abuse of any individual in custody,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “I commend the Buffalo Police Department for once again immediately bringing this incident to our attention.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Guerra, who is handling the case, stated that Jaskula has been working as a Cell Block Attendant with the Buffalo Police Department since 2013. On May 19, 2016, the defendant was promoted to the position of Senior Cell Block Attendant.
According to the complaint, on that same day, May 19, 2016, the Victim was arrested by two Buffalo Police officers and transported to the cell block area of police headquarters. At approximately 10:00 p.m., the Victim, whose hands were handcuffed behind his back, was taken into the fingerprint and mug shot room. The officers and the Victim were met by Jaskula and another cell block attendant.
The Victim, with his hands still handcuffed behind him, was instructed to face a wall. Within a few seconds, Jaskula grabbed the Victim from behind and shoved the Victim face-first into a door. The force of the defendant’s actions not only caused the Victim to strike his face on the door, it caused the door to fly open and the Victim to fall to the ground. On the way to the ground, the Victim’s face struck the ledge of a shelf, before striking the floor – once again, face-first.
The defendant’s actions caused the Victim to become limp and unresponsive. Jaskula thereafter grabbed the Victim by his handcuffed arms and dragged him down a hallway for approximately 10-15 feet to an open cell. The Victim began bleeding profusely as he was dragged by the defendant and taken into an open cell. As the Victim was pulled into the room, the Victim’s head hit the door frame, causing blood to pool on the floor. Once in the room, the Victim’s facial injuries caused a large amount of blood to fall onto the seat and floor of the cell.
The Victim was later taken by Jaskula and another and put into a restraint chair used for non-compliant prisoners. The defendant left the Victim in this chair, without seeking medical treatment for the extensive facial injuries, for approximately an hour and 45 minutes. The cell block area in Buffalo Police headquarters is equipped with a video recording system and Jaskula’s actions were captured on videotape.
As also described in the complaint, Jaskula told two lieutenants on duty that a prisoner had a bloody nose, giving the impression that the Victim had the bloody nose when he was brought in by the officers. After one of the lieutenants indicated the Victim should go to the Erie County Medical Center, the defendant replied that the Victim’s nose was not bleeding anymore and he was refusing medical treatment. At approximately 11:30 p.m., the Victim complained of chest pains. The Victim was taken to ECMC and treated for nasal bone fractures and a laceration between his nose and right eye.
The defendant will make an initial appearance on June 10, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer.
The complaint is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.