WATCH: Buffalo Police Officers Suspended After Pushing 75-Year-Old Protester To The Ground
Two police officers in Buffalo, New York have been suspended without pay after pushing a 75-year-old activist, Martin Gugino, to the ground during the George Floyd demonstrations, with the incident caught on video. Gugino is recovering at the hospital after a head injury.
A graphic video of the incident went viral on Twitter after a local radio station, WBFO, posted it. The video shows Gugino walking up to two police officers on Niagara Square, the police officers yelling, “Push him back.” One of the officers then pushes Gugino to the ground with force. Gugino fell down on the pavement, his head started bleeding. While he laid motionless, police officers proceeded walking without checking on him. One officer attempted to kneel down to check on Gugino but was pulled away by another officer and walked away. Meanwhile, witnesses started shouting: “He is bleeding from his ears!” and “Get a medic!”
— WBFO (@WBFO) June 5, 2020
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said in his Thursday night statement that he was “deeply disturbed by the video.” Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood ordered an investigation of the matter, while the officers were suspended without pay.
— Byron W. Brown (@MayorByronBrown) June 5, 2020
The police initially said in a statement that Gugino “tripped and fell” but after reviewing the video, Commissioner Lockwood said he decided to suspend the officers. The Erie County District Attorney Office also released a statement, confirming the ongoing investigative process.
The Erie County DA’s Office continues to investigate the incident captured on video outside City Hall that resulted in the injury of protester. The victim was taken to ECMC to be treated for a head injury. He was unable to provide a statement to investigators last night.
— Erie County DA (@DAErieCountyNY) June 5, 2020
The Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said that the video “sickens” him. He tweeted Friday morning that Gugino was in serious but stable condition and said to be “alert and oriented.”
New update on the 75 year old man injured during last night’s BPD incident: he is still in serious but stable condition at the Erie County Medical Center and, as was relayed to me by an ECMC official, he is “alert and oriented.” That is better news. Let’s hope he fully recovers.
— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) June 5, 2020
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) also condemned the actions of the police officers in his Twitter post, after seeing the video.
“This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful,” Cuomo tweeted. “Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law.”
Gugino has been identified as a longtime local peace activist from Amherst, N.Y. As an activist, Gugino has been involved in a number of social issues such as nuclear disarmament, climate change and Guantanamo Bay.