All 57 members of the Buffalo Police Emergency Response Team have resigned from the unit, in support of two colleagues who were suspended for assaulting an elderly man during a protest over the murder of George Floyd.
“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” said John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.
WGRZ-TV reports: The announcement comes one day after two members were suspended without pay when a video surfaced, showing them pushing over a 75-year-old protestor, causing injury. … The special response unit was formed in 2016 and is deployed to manage mass protests or riots. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz was unaware of the most recent development of ERT members resigning their posts. He says the New York State Police are bringing in more Troopers to assist Buffalo.
More from WKBW-TV: The 57 officers have not resigned from the department and will keep their jobs, they have only resigned from their roles on the Emergency Response Team. A Buffalo PBA representative tells 7 Eyewitness News anchor Hannah Buehler “these officers were simply following orders given by DPC Joe Gramaglia to clear the Square.” … In addition to the suspension, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn’s office is also investigating the incident and will determine whether the two suspended officers will be charged.
The Washington Post reports: The 75-year-old man, identified as Martin Gugino by the group People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo, was taken to a hospital after his fall and was in “stable but serious condition,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. Buffalo police spokesman Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said he believes the man’s injuries include a laceration and “possible concussion,” while Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said it was a “serious head injury.” Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood launched an internal affairs investigation into the officers after seeing the video, Rinaldo said. He declined to identify the officers who were suspended without pay.