BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Buffalo Police and the City of Buffalo are now defending themselves in a lawsuit after a heated exchange was caught on camera.
A homeowner claims he was mistreated by Buffalo Police during a dispute over his property.
The homeowner’s legal team told News 4 that BPD did not do enough to hold the officers involved accountable. They hope the suit, filed Monday, will send a message this is unacceptable.
The lawsuit claims the dispute started months after Mohammad Ismail bought 369 Sherman St. at the city auction in October.
It was previously owned by Buffalo Police Officer Christopher Fields.
The suit alleges Officer Fields and a female officer appeared at the house on April 18. It claims Officer Fields had changed the locks, told Ismail he didn’t own the home and that he needed to leave or he would be arrested.
A few days later, the lawsuit claims the female officer returned. That interaction was caught on camera by Ismail’s cousin.
In the video, the officer says, “You’re trespassing, what don’t you understand about that? If [Fields] comes here and he wants you locked up you can go to jail.”
She continues to yell at Ismail, saying “You don’t have keys, he changed the locks, he told you that the other day. How did you get in the back of there? How did you get in the back of the house? How did you get in? He owns this house, you don’t own it.”
Ismail filed two separate complaints with BPD.
Last month, he received a letter from the department saying there is “not sufficient evidence” to prove he was mistreated.
“After the city had an opportunity to investigate this, look into it and take whatever actions it felt appropriate, even reprimand and acknowledge what occurred, something relative to discipline of the officers, they had that opportunity and they chose not to do it,” said Ismail’s attorney Rafael Gomez.
The department clarified to News 4 they are still investigating the altercation recorded on video but, as the letter stated, the initial interaction with Officer Fields has been internally resolved.
Ismail is still going ahead with a lawsuit against the City of Buffalo, BPD and the two officers.
It says the officers trespassed, abused their authority, and searched and seized his property without a warrant or probable cause.
“He still lives in this fear when he sees police officers that he isn’t safe in his own home,” said Gomez.
The suit also claims the City and BPD didn’t properly investigate the incidents and has negligent and reckless hiring and supervision practices.
The city says it cannot comment on pending litigation.
We confirmed with county officials that Ismail does own the home he bought at auction. He continues to work on the home.