The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office says one of its deputies did not assault a high school football coach from Bennett High School in Buffalo at last week’s New York State High School Football playoff game played at Cicero-North Syracuse. The following is a statement released by the sheriff’s office:
On Saturday, 11-25-2023, Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) from Syracuse, NY, played Lewis J. Bennett High School (Bennett) from Buffalo, NY in the State High School Football Sectionals Semi-Finals. This game was held at a neutral site at Cicero-North Syracuse High School (CNS) in Cicero, NY. The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office CNS school resources Officers were working the game as part of the security detail. With 1:57 seconds left in the second quarter, the game officials called a penalty on the Bennett coaches, and a heated dispute between Bennett High School coaches and game officials began. A CNS administrator asked the Sheriff Deputies to intervene and help escort the Bennett Assistant Athletic Director Michael House, and Head Coach Steve McDuffie back to the sidelines. Sheriff Deputies in this video are seen doing that.
On Monday, 11-27-2023, Coach McDuffie, Michael House, and Assistant Coach Djuan Todd contacted the Sheriff’s Office and made a complaint with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Unit against a Deputy whom they state “assaulted” Coach McDuffie. I watched all videos, including deputy body-worn cameras, CNS security cameras, and game day telecast videos from the NFHS Network. At no point during the deputy’s duties did either Deputy become aggressive, abusive, or assault Coach McDuffie. The body-worn cameras alone show the professionalism that is expected from our Police Deputies and further show de-escalation of a situation from a coach and staff acting aggressively. The video shows the accused deputy entering the field until he exited; the coach was never assaulted or harassed. Our Deputies that evening did an excellent job maintaining the peace in a stressful situation.
Bennett High School ended up losing the game to CBA 21-8