Two US policemen have been charged with second-degree assault as they were noticed pushing a 75-year-old protester to the ground, wounding him.
They wounded Martin Gugino. The victim is in the hospital in a serious but stable condition.
Policemen were identified as Aaron Torgalski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32. They are the members of the Emergency Response Team. They requested not guilty in New York. They were released without bail, and face up to seven years in prison.
They were suspended without pay. Fifty-seven of their colleagues later resigned after the officers’ suspension.
More than 100 supporters, including police officers and firefighters, protested outside the courthouse in Buffalo against the action taken.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said: “The two defendants, who are Buffalo Police officers, pushed a protestor outside of City Hall, causing him to fall and hit his head on the sidewalk.”
He mentioned that he was not in favor of anyone in the case.
“We’re on the same team here. We’re all working each and every day to do justice, to keep our streets safe, to keep our communities safe.
“I’m partnered with law enforcement every day to do that. And when I have to prosecute one of my teammates it doesn’t help the situation,”
John Evans, president of the local police union, said to the local newspaper, “Our position is these officers were simply following orders from Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia to clear the square.
“It doesn’t specify clear the square of men, 50 and under or 15 to 40. They were simply doing their job. I don’t know how much contact was made. He did slip in my estimation. He fell backward.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown stated, “We can confirm that contingency plans are in place to maintain police services and ensure public safety within our community.”