Buffalo, NY-Two Buffalo Police officers were arrested and charged in connection with an assault of a 75-year-old man protestor.
Officers Aaron Torglaski 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.
At a news conference Saturday, District Attorney John Flynn said the officers “crossed a line.”
The officers had been suspended without pay Friday after a TV crew captured the confrontation the night before near the end of protests.
The video shows a man identified as Martin Gugino approaching a line of helmeted officers holding batons as they clear demonstrators from Niagara Square.
Two officers push Gugino backward, and he hits his head on the pavement. Blood spills as officers walk past. One officer leans down to check on the injured man before another officer urges the colleague to keep walking.
"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," said Kelly V. Zarcone, Gugino's attorney, in a statement.
“I think there was criminal liability from what I saw on the video," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a briefing Saturday. "I think what the mayor did and the district attorney did was right, and I applaud them for acting as quickly as they did.”
“What we saw was horrendous and disgusting, and I believe, illegal,” he added.
An attorney representing Gugino released a statement saying Gugino is "alert and oriented" and described him as a longtime peaceful protester and human rights advocate.
"Mr. Gugino requests privacy for himself and his family as he recovers," said Kelly V. Zarone. "He appreciates all of the well wishes he has received and requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful."