John J. Flynn Jr., the District Attorney of Erie County, announced on December 3rd that his office is considering pursuing charges against two Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies for lying under oath. The charges are related to making false statements about an arrest that occurred one year ago on December 3rd, 2017. While the investigation is still ongoing, body-cam footage of the incident has surfaced, and it appears to contradict the cop’s version of events.
Last year, the two deputies, James W. Flowers and Kenneth P. Achtyl, confronted Nicholas H. Belsito outside of a Bills game. According to the officers, Belsito was tailgating outside of New Era Field. The officers allege the suspect was acting “violent, tumultuous and threatening.” They reported that the suspect fought with them when confronted, so he was ultimately taken into custody for disorderly conduct. The deputies also charged him with criminal mischief and obstructing governmental administration.
During the suspect’s trial, one of the officer’s body-cam footage was seen by the assistant district attorney. Charges were not pursued, and the case was dismissed after the video clearly shows the officers being uncooperative and aggressive. The suspect’s friend had just been arrested, and he can be seen asking where the police would be transporting him. The officers were combative but eventually gave an answer. As the suspect walked away, he swore at the officers and told them to do their job. In response, one of the officers grabbed the suspect and slammed him to the ground. The other officer clubbed the suspect in the face. The suspect ultimately suffered from a concussion and a broken nose.
Now, the District Attorney has announced the possibility of charging both officers for lying about the arrest under oath. The suspect is considering pursing a wrongful arrest lawsuit against Erie County, but nothing has been confirmed yet.