Tolbert Statement on the Richard Metcalf Homicide Case

The Buffalo News is reporting that lawyers in the Richard Metcalf homicide case have agreed to seal Sheriff Howard’s deposition and that of two of his aides. Separate testimony by sheriff’s deputies that they did not know how to apply the spit mask that choked Metcalf to death has already been made public.

I can’t comment on the legal issues involving the decision to seal Tim Howard’s deposition except to say that court orders to seal documents must be respected.

What I can also say is that it is deeply disappointing that once again Tim Howard is able to keep critical information from public view. This is part of a long, disturbing pattern in the sheriff’s office where all kinds of information – about jail management, training programs for deputies, surveillance programs, the budget and more – is hidden from public scrutiny. I will change that it.

It is also clear that, whatever the outcome of the Richard Metcalf lawsuit, it has been firmly established that jail personnel are not properly trained in even the basic requirements for handling inmates. I will change that too.

As sheriff I will immediately institute a comprehensive review of the training provided to deputies and adopt best practices used at well-run jails across the country.

The nightmare of Tim Howard’s twelve-year mismanagement of Erie County’s jails is about to end.