President Donald Trump made the unsubstantiated claim in a tweet Tuesday morning that Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old protester injured after being pushed by Buffalo police last week, “could be an ANTIFA provocateur” who had used a scanner on police equipment and had faked his fall, based on an OANN report.
Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2020
Video of the incident, which had been viewed over 80 million times as of Tuesday morning, went viral last week:
— WBFO (@WBFO) June 5, 2020
The president tagged the One America News Network (OANN) in his tweet, but did not include any specific link, though he may have been referring to video of an OANN report that had been viewed over 100,000 times as of 10:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
Fun fact: The @OANN reporter with the Russian accent who did this wildly misleading story filled with unsubstantiated claims that Trump has now referenced on Twitter moonlights for Russia's state-run propaganda and disinfo-peddling network @SputnikInt. https://t.co/UFcFKDYAnf
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) June 9, 2020
As Breitbart News reported last week, the two officers involved in the incident were suspended without pay, which prompted 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team to resign in protest.
The officers, Robert McCabe, 32, and Aaron Torgalski, 39, were charged with felony assault and turned themselves in on Saturday morning. The district attorney in Buffalo referred to Gugino as “a harmless 75-year-old man.”
Gugino, who was hospitalized in serious but stable condition as of Monday, is a veteran political activist. The New York Post noted that he is “a long-time peace activist and ‘gentle person,’ according to friends.” He was arrested at the White House in 2012 during a protest against the Guantánamo Bay prison facility. He appears to have deleted his social media accounts.