Horne’s allegations of wrongful firing in Buffalo have never been validated, although council members have raised questions over the years and this week discussed her pension. The now-retired officer whom Horne accused could not be reached, and his former lawyers did not respond to requests for comment. He and several colleagues prevailed in a lawsuit filed by the man Horne says she was trying to protect, a suit that alleged battery and other misconduct.

Others charging law enforcement colleagues with abuse have obtained legal victories after suffering through what they call retaliation for breaching a “code of silence.”

In 2018, a court awarded Lorenzo Davis $2.8 million after he said he was fired from Chicago police’s civilian oversight board for refusing to back off findings that officers were not justified in shootings.

There are rewarding moments, Davis said, like when an officer walked up to him one day to thank him. But a legal fight over the payout is still unfolding, and he says he’s mostly discouraged by the atmosphere he sees. Another police whistleblower in Chicago, Sgt. Isaac Lambert, says his lawsuit alleging similar retaliation remains in limbo and his concerns unheard amid talk about reform.