BPD Cell Block Attendant Sentenced For Violating Individual’s Civil Rights

BUFFALO – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced Thursday that Matthew Jaskula, 27, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted of willfully depriving another of their constitutional rights under color of law resulting in bodily injury, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

According to First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Guerra, who handled the case, Jaskula worked as a Cell Block Attendant with the Buffalo Police Department since 2013. On May 19, 2016, the defendant was working as a Senior Cell Block Attendant.

On May 19, 2016, the victim was arrested by two Buffalo Police officers and transported to the cell block area of police headquarters. At approximately 10:00 p.m., the victim, whose hands were handcuffed behind his back, was taken into the fingerprint and mug shot room. The officers and the victim were met by Jaskula and another cell block attendant.

The victim, with his hands still handcuffed behind him, was instructed to face a wall. Within a few seconds, Jaskula grabbed the victim from behind and shoved the victim face-first into a door. The force of the defendant’s actions not only caused the victim to strike the door, it caused the door to fly open and the victim to fall to the ground. On the way to the ground, the victim’s face struck the ledge of a shelf, before striking the floor, face-first per Guerra.

The defendant’s actions caused the victim to become limp and unresponsive.  Jaskula thereafter grabbed the victim by his handcuffed arms and dragged him down a hallway for approximately 10-15 feet to an open cell. The victim began bleeding profusely as he was dragged by the defendant and taken into an open cell.  As the victim was pulled into the room, the victim’s head hit the door frame, causing blood to pool on the floor. Once in the room, the victim’s facial injuries caused a large amount of blood to fall onto the seat and floor of the cell.

The victim was later taken by Jaskula and another and put into a restraint chair used for non-compliant prisoners. The defendant left the victim in this chair, without seeking medical treatment for the facial injuries, for approximately an hour and 45 minutes. The cell block area in Buffalo Police headquarters is equipped with a video recording system and Jaskula’s actions were captured on video.

Jaskula told two lieutenants on duty that a prisoner had a bloody nose, giving the impression that the victim had the bloody nose when he was brought in by the officers. After one of the lieutenants indicated the victim should go to the Erie County Medical Center, the defendant replied that the victim’s nose was not bleeding anymore and he was refusing medical treatment. At approximately 11:30 p.m., the victim complained of chest pains. The victim was taken to ECMC and treated for nasal bone fractures and a laceration between his nose and right eye.

“Every day, children across the country begin their school day repeating the Pledge of Allegiance, which concludes with the following phrase, ‘with liberty and justice for all,’ noted U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “‘All’ means all, it doesn’t mean ‘some’ or simply ‘those who act the way we like.’ This Office remains committed to doing our part to deliver justice to—and to protect the civil rights of—all citizens in our District.”

“The FBI’s Civil Rights Program dedicates a significant amount of its efforts to investigating crimes committed by individuals exploiting their government-granted powers,” said Adam S. Cohen, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI Buffalo Office.  “Matthew Jaskula received certain powers from the government so that he could defend the rights of the people and prevent wrongdoing.  His badge did not come with the authority to ignore the Constitution; rather, he had a responsibility to uphold it.”

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.