Cariol Holloman Horne of Buffalo, New York, United States is known for breaking the blue wall of silence. Also known as blue code and blue shield, the informal rule among police officers in the U.S. prohibits them from reporting on a colleague’s misconducts, errors and crimes.
Horne was a police officer in Buffalo, where she was born and raised. On November 1, 2006, she stopped her fellow Buffalo Police Department officer Gregory Kwiatkowski from choking a handcuffed arrestee, an African-American man named Neal Mack.
That day, Horne, Kwiatkowski and around 10 other BPD officers responded to a domestic dispute inside the house of Mack and his girlfriend. Horne told WKBW, “Gregory Kwiatkowski turned Neal Mack around and started choking him so then I’m like, ‘Greg! You’re choking him,’ because I thought whatever happened in the house he was still upset about so when he didn’t stop choking him, I just grabbed his arm from around Neal Mack’s neck.”
Kwiatkowski then punched Horne in the face. She had to have the bridge of her nose replaced because of it.
Horne was charged with obstruction for “jumping on officer Kwiatkowski’s back and/or striking him with her hands.” He also filed a defamation suit against her for $65,000, which he won because she was too busy earning a living to appear in court and he collected $20,000.
Since Horne’s firing, she has become an outspoken activist against police brutality. Here are 13 more facts about her:
- She is a single mother of five children.
- She attended South Park High School in Buffalo from 1981 to 1985.
- She studied criminal justice at the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo State College in Buffalo from 1985 to 1986.
- In March 1988, she joined the Buffalo Police Department.
- In January 2007, she became a senior research consultant at the Center on Race, Law and Police in Buffalo. In 2007, she received the Harriet Tubman Award from the Erie County Legislature and was named Person of the Year by WUFO Radio Broadcasters.
- On May 8, 2008, the Buffalo City Government terminated her. She was two months away from retirement so she lost her pension.
- In April 2011, she started working with People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo as a community leader.
- From December 2009 to September 2012, she worked as a school bus driver for First Student in Buffalo.
- In 2012, she worked as a bus driver for the University of Buffalo. From January 2012 to February 2016, she worked as a taxi driver for Buffalo Transportation Inc. and Liberty Yellow Cab in Buffalo.
- From 2014 to 2015, she worked as a truck driver for U.S. Xpress, Inc. in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
- In 2016, she received the Shero Award for Excellence in Community Service from the Los Angeles Urban Police Roundtable and was named Woman of the Year by UMOJA.
- Named after her, the legislation called Cariol’s Law was passed by the Buffalo Common Council in September 2020 and signed by Buffalo mayor Byron Brown in October 2020.
- She was 53 years old when New York State Supreme Court Judge Dennis Ward ruled in her favor on April 13, 2021, reinstating her pension.