An Erie County Sheriff’s deputy admitted Wednesday to pepper-spraying an inmate at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.
Josephine Cutolo, 54, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty before Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott to a misdemeanor charge of deprivation of rights under color of law.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross said Cutolo, a deputy sheriff, used pepper spray in August on an inmate who at the time was in handcuffs, subdued and being escorted by two other deputies.
Undersheriff Mark N. Wipperman said she was suspended without pay as soon as the sheriff’s office learned of the incident; the office immediately asked that the FBI investigate and she was terminated as soon as charges were brought against her.
“Those who serve in law enforcement, including corrections staff, are entrusted with substantial power and authority in order to protect the public or those in their care,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. in a statement.
Cutolo’s plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.