The officers, 32-year-old Robert McCabe and 39-year-old Aaron Torgalski, were suspended without pay on Thursday after 75-year-old Martin Gugino was knocked down by police at a protest in Niagara Square.
Members of the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team, the officers have been suspended without pay and are being investigated after a local radio station released video of the incident involving Gugino, a longtime activist who has advocated for affordable housing, climate justice and police accountability.
But Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday at an Albany briefing that from what he saw on the footage, there is "criminal liability".
In the context of violence, vandalism, looting, and arson, Mayor Bryron Brown described Gugino as "a key and major instigator of people engaging in those activities" in remarks he made Friday, Law Officer reported.
'After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight's event is disheartening'. "One of the things that happened before was conflict among protesters and there was a danger of fights breaking out, and police felt it was important to clear that scene for the safety of protesters", said Brown.
In the video, Mr. Gugino can be seen approaching a large group of police officers wearing tactical gear. Another officer could be heard commanding, "Push him back". In the video, he was seen holding a mobile phone in his right hand and what looked like an ERT helmet in the other.
The video rocketed around the world featured in news reports as well as online
When the man falls, his head hits the pavement and blood begins to drip from his ear as the bulk of the unit continues to walk past him; and at least one officer seeks help.
Subsequently, 57 police officers have resigned from the emergency response unit in solidarity with the suspended officers. "We need them to be the guardians of the public, not warriors engaged in battle with the public", Poloncarz said. Around 57 ERT officers resigned in support of their colleagues on Friday.
The two officers "crossed a line" when they shoved the man down hard enough for him to crack his head on the ground, Mr Flynn said at a news conference, calling the victim "a harmless 75-year-old man". Picture taken June 4, 2020.
The elderly activist tweeted that curfews do not cover protests because, according to him, Congress and local leaders can not craft laws that curtail the right of the people to peacefully assemble and air their complaint to the administration.
"I've been doing this work for around 10 years, and I can't remember a protest Martin wasn't at", said John Washington, an organiser at People's Action in Buffalo. If convicted, they face up to seven years in prison, according to District Attorney Flynn.
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