BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — When Buffalo police officer Joseph Hassett was arrested Tuesday on charges related to an alleged assault of a handcuffed suspect, multiple law enforcement sources told News 4 it wasn’t the first time he’s been accused of roughing up a person in custody.
Hassett, 31, was charged Tuesday with multiple counts of assault and official misconduct after authorities said he had an altercation with a suspect in his custody at central booking downtown.
The suspect, Timothy Staton, was handcuffed and being processed into the city jail on March 18, when Hassett is accused of sweeping his legs, or tripping him. Hassett’s attorney, Timothy Hoover, said Staton was resisting when the incident happened.
The move caused Staton to strike his head on the ground, which opened a wound above his eye that required stitches.
Hassett is also accused of lying on an internal report about what happened.
Hassett’s attorney said Tuesday his client used justified “limited” force.
In addition to this latest incident, multiple law enforcement sources tell News 4 Hassett has been the subject of multiple allegations of civil rights allegations.
It’s not known why or how the investigations never came to fruition.
Former U.S. Attorney William Hochul could not be reached for comment about whether his office investigated the allegations at the time.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda declined to comment, saying Hassett’s past is a personnel matter.
Hoover could not be reached for comment.