Niagara Sheriff supervisor punished for downgrading DWI charge

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Steve Broderick wears two hats — one of them landed him in trouble.

Broderick is the supervisor of the town of Lewiston, and he serves in a supervisory role as a lieutenant with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office says he abused the latter position last fall.

In November, 21-year-old Rachel Winter was pulled over for suspected drunk driving. The sheriff’s office said she was weaving in her lane, took a wide turn and had her headlights off after 3 a.m.

Winter, who’s the daughter of well known attorney Ron Winter — a former Niagara district attorney and current law clerk for State Supreme Court Justice Richard Kloch, Sr. — failed field sobriety tests and was then arrested on the drunk driving charge, according to Niagara County Undersheriff Michael Filicetti. The incident was caught on video from the deputy’s body camera.

Filicetti said Winter asked to call her father from the scene to advise if she should take a Breathalyzer. Filicetti said the deputy called his supervisor, Lt. Broderick, to asked whether Winter should make the call from the scene or back at the sheriff’s office. Filicetti said that was the first time Broderick told the deputy he knew Ron Winter.

When the deputy and Winter arrived at the sheriff’s office for booking, Broderick intervened. Filicetti said Broderick asked the deputy about whether he felt comfortable with downgrading the DWI charge to less serious charges of reckless driving and failure to keep right.

In early February, as the district attorney’s office was preparing for its case against Winter, they watched video of the November arrest; the facts didn’t match, Filicetti said. They then called the sheriff’s office.

“Once it was brought to our attention that something didn’t appear right in the video and we agreed with that, we felt that it had to be corrected,” Filicetti said. “We felt that our supervision that night was in error and we also felt that charges needed to be laid to make sure that it was handled properly.

“Once you arrest somebody, there has to be some justifiable reason for you to essentially un-arrest them,” he added. There wasn’t.

Filicetti declined to go into detail about exactly how Broderick was punished.

Meanwhile, Rachel Winter was again charged with DWI, and her case was moved out of Niagara County because of conflicts of interest.

Broderick, who’s been with the sheriff’s office for more than 25 years, said he couldn’t comment because he said that would be a violation of the department’s procedures about discussing the inter workings of the office.

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