Two Buffalo, New York, police officers were suspended without pay on Thursday after a video showed them shoving 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground, as protests over the police killing of George Floyd continued into their tenth night.
The video taken by a reporter from local public radio station WBFO and posted on its website and Twitter account shows the white-haired man approaching a line of officers in riot gear. One officer pushes him with a baton and a second one with his hand. The sound of a crack is heard and then blood trickles from the man’s head. The man, who is white, is not identified.
— WBFO (@WBFO) June 5, 2020
“I was deeply disturbed by the video,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement. “After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening.”
On Friday, 57 members of the Emergency Response Team walked off the job in solidarity of the officers suspended. They are still with the police department just not members of the ERT reports TMZ.
The incident drew widespread condemnation on social media as protesters returned to the streets of several U.S. cities to demonstrate against police brutality.
On Friday afternoon, Gugino’s lawyer issued a statement, revealing he is “in serious but stable condition” and is “alert and oriented.”
#JustIn: This is a statement from a lawyer of Martin Gugino, the man who was pushed by officers following last night’s protests. “At this time, Mr. Gugino is in serious but stable condition. He is alert and oriented.” pic.twitter.com/xncc7MPfYZ
— Marlee Tuskes (@MarleeTuskesTV) June 5, 2020
Meanwhile, Seth Rogen and Kacey Musgraves were among celebrities to share their outrage over the video.
Again, if they’re doing this to old white men ON camera, imagine what the fuck is happening off camera. https://t.co/aWM1sl8wRj
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) June 5, 2020
I just called Buffalo Police Dept. @BPDAlerts to demand the firing of Officer Aaron Torgalski (the one who seriously hurt the elderly man & wouldn’t help him) They told me to call Buffalo Police HQ about it instead. In case anyone feels as sickened as I do: (716) 851-4444
— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) June 5, 2020
I'm not sure why we would need to sign a petition to make this happen but I just did. Protect and serve?
Buffalo Police Department : FIRE POLICE OFFICE AARON TORGALSKI – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/asOidX0TgI via @Change
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) June 5, 2020
Re: that awful video. Buffalo PD officially said that the man tripped & fell. If we didn’t have video there would have been no accountability. Why? Because one “bad apple” pushed him down but 20 “good apples” would have let him get away with it. It’s systemic.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 5, 2020
@NYGovCuomo The Buffalo Police Department LIED in their statement. We know that because we have VIDEO. The elderly man went up to talk to the police men and one threw him back and he fell and now has a skull fracture. ACCOUNTABILITY. https://t.co/gvksADn7Ti
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) June 5, 2020
— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) June 5, 2020
THIS IS WHAT HE THINKS LAW & ORDER LOOKS LIKE….. https://t.co/lRKt0FrFSS
— LLCOOLJ (@llcoolj) June 5, 2020
To every single cop in this video that walked by that poor man bleeding out of his head after he was OBVIOUSLY pushed, WHY ARE YOU A COP???!!!!! To all the great cops out there, CALL THESE SORRY EXCUSE FOR HUMANS OUT!! https://t.co/xT31LwaVZr
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) June 5, 2020
Here’s the problem with what you’re saying (if it was fake) NOT ONE of those cops knew anything in that moment other than an elderly man was pushed down and now there’s blood on the ground and he could be dying. Unless these are special, magical cops that know all 🙄 #WakeUp https://t.co/feqHurWpah
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) June 5, 2020
Take your helmet off and help the MAN !!!! pic.twitter.com/oZL0QBSvrZ
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) June 5, 2020
Just watch.. No comment needed.. he’s bleeding.. smh https://t.co/YTlgINv0AT
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) June 5, 2020
The poor old man in the video below was resported to “trip and fall” by the police even though in the video you can clearly see him being pushed.
The officer who shoved him is “Aaron Tolgalski” and needs to be fired and charged immediately. https://t.co/ExLOFW7VXL
— Zedd (@Zedd) June 5, 2020
Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after former police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
The video in Buffalo shows the majority of the officers march past after the man falls, though the officer who pushed him with a baton starts to lean over him before he is motioned away by another officer. Someone is heard calling for a medic.View link »
The radio station reported that two medics came forward and helped the man into an ambulance. Police later said that a man was injured after tripping and falling, the radio station said.
But after viewing the video, Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood ordered an investigation and suspended the two officers, Brown said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter that he spoke with the Mayor Brown and agreed that the officers involved should be suspended, pending a formal investigation.
He wrote,”Police Officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law.”
This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.
I've spoken with Buffalo @MayorByronBrown and we agree that the officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.
Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law. https://t.co/EYIbTlXnPt
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 5, 2020
The 75-year-old victim was in stable but serious condition at Erie County Medical Center Hospital in Buffalo, Brown said.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)