ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — An Erie County Sheriff’s deputy will be charged with assault, falsifying business records and official misconduct following an incident at a Buffalo Bills game more than a year ago.
In December of 2017, a UB student, Nicholas Belsito, was attending the game at New Era Field, and ended up with a bloody face and serious injuries after being detained by a deputy.
The deputy, Kenneth Achtyl, told Belsito to “beat it” a number of times, and also asked Belsito if he wanted to go to jail, according to body cam video.
Belsito walked away, but then turned toward the deputy’s cruiser and cursed, prompting Achtyl to detain him.
Earlier this year, Belsito sued Achtyl, accusing him of using unnecessary force. According to the lawsuit, Achtyl hit Belsito in the head with a baton and smashed him into the cruiser.
Belsito suffered a facial fracture among other injuries.
Another deputy, whose last name is Flowers, was also named in the lawsuit. Flowers was accused of failing to intervene and falsely arresting the UB student. Those charges were dismissed in court.
Belsito’s attorney, Aaron Glazer, released a statement on the pending charges against Achtyl, saying “We believe the facts clearly support the DA’s decision to prosecute. The law in NY is clear in that Nick should not have been arrested, let alone subjected to a vicious assault. The civil suit is pending and will move forward.”
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard also released a statement, saying ““My Office is aware of the pending charges against Deputy Achtyl. He is on administrative leave, and when he is formally charged, his status will change to ‘suspended without pay’ until the conclusion of the court proceedings.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also weighed in on the case:
“While there are many good deputies in the Erie County Sheriff’s office, unfortunately the bad actions of one deputy can harm the reputation of all. If a deputy lies to create an evidentiary premise for an arrest, that deputy is breaking the law and should not be wearing a badge representing the people of our county. As I said before, I understand that the job of a deputy can be stressful, and I have great respect for anyone who chooses a career in law enforcement, but no one is above the law. Deputy Achtyl’s behavior in this matter has been unacceptable, inappropriate, and not representative of the honorable men and women who wear the uniform. As I previously communicated to the sheriff’s office, he should be removed from his position.”