Two police officers have been arrested for allegedly shoving an elderly man at a George Floyd protest in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday.
“Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20,” according to ABC News.
Video footage showed the moment when 75-year-old Martin Gugino approached officers as they moved forward during the protest at Niagara Square:
— WBFO (@WBFO) June 5, 2020
Gugino gestured toward the officers and appeared to be saying something to them. Moments later, an officer was heard shouting “Move!” as the others pushed the elderly man back.
Gugino then stumbled and fell on the ground and hit his head on the pavement.
“Mr. Gugino has been a longtime peaceful protester, human rights advocate, and overall fan of the U.S. Constitution for many years. At this time, Mr. Gugino is in serious but stable condition. He is alert and oriented,” his attorney, Kelly V. Zarcone, said in a statement.
Prior to their arrest, the two officers were suspended without pay, according to Breitbart News.
Mayor Byron W. Brown said the incident occurred after protesters participated in an “illegal demonstration beyond the curfew.”
“I was deeply disturbed by the video, as was Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood,” he noted, adding that Lockwood had directed an immediate investigation into the matter.
In response to the officers’ suspension, all 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team resigned on Friday, Breitbart News reported.
“The now-resigned officers remain employed by the department, but are no longer on Emergency Response Team, which was formed in 2016 for the purpose of managing mass protests,” the article read.
In a statement, Brown confirmed that officials planned “to maintain police services and ensure public safety within our community. The Buffalo police continue to actively work with the New York State Police and other cooperating agencies.”