Buffalo News

Honored detective suspended without pay, charged with defying orders

By Stephen T. Watson and Vanessa Thomas - News Staff Reporters
Updated: 02/29/08 2:30 PM

Detective Dennis A. Delano, an outspoken member of the Buffalo Police Cold Case Squad, faces departmental charges and has been suspended without pay, the police commissioner announced this afternoon.

Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson has charged Delano with defying orders from his superiors and with releasing a videotape and other investigative materials without authorization, Gipson said in a statement.

"The charges against Mr. Delano are extremely serious in nature and his actions have compromised the integrity of the Buffalo Police Department," the statement said.

Police sources previously said Gipson had suspended Delano with pay this week for allegedly providing an investigative videotape from the Lynn DeJac case to a local television station.

Dennis Delano
Det. Dennis Delano
The 28-year department veteran has publicly asserted he does not believe DeJac killed her 13-year-old daughter, Crystallynn Girard, in 1993.

Delano also has criticized the Erie County District Attorney's Office for accepting new forensic findings that indicate Crystallynn died of a cocaine overdose and not strangulation.

Department sources previously told The News that they feel Delano is being unfairly punished for speaking out and for continuing to work on the DeJac case against the orders of top police officials.

The Delano supporters also told The News that it's not clear who leaked the videotape to WGRZ-TV.

Delano was honored for his diligent work on the Bike Path Killer case, during which he helped win the release of the wrongfully convicted Anthony Capozzi.

Sources had said that Delano was stripped of his gun and his badge when he was suspended with pay earlier this week.

Delano was suspended without pay Friday according to the provisions of the police contract, Gipson said.

"This by no means, diminishes the good work Detective Delano has done as a member of our highly effective Cold Case Squad. But I want to stress, no individual is above the rules and regulations of his or her workplace," the commissioner's statement said.

The video footage in question was aired on Channel 2's Monday night newscasts.

The video, showing Crystallynn's bedroom where she was found dead, was taken just over one hour after police arrived on the scene. The bedroom was in disarray with bloodied bed sheets, a mattress on the floor, and an overturned nightstand.

Police sources say department officials did not release the video footage and are outraged that it was released to local television media and shown to the public.

WIVB-TV, Channel 4, also aired similar footage Tuesday night, officials said.

Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark said Delano's suspension did not originate from a complaint from his office.

"I have never spoken to anyone from the Buffalo Police Department about Dennis Delano," said Clark. "We didn't have anything to do with this."

During Channel 2's story, reporter Scott Brown traveled to Washington, D.C., where two forensic experts reviewed their video footage, along with other investigative documents connected to Crystallynn's death.

According to Channel 2's story, Delano took the day off work and also went to Washington, where he spoke to experts about her death.

Clark said if Delano did provide the video footage to the media, it may not be a criminal offense.

"Until I have all the facts, I can't determine whether this is criminal or not," said Clark. "Hypothetically, on the face of it, I don't known that this is a crime unless he got some benefit in return. It could be unethical conduct, but I don't know."

Police insiders say Delano has a flawless police record and this is the first time that he is facing departmental charges.

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