Two Buffalo police officers caught on camera Friday assaulting a 75-year-old man who was attempting to talk to them about the murder of George Floyd are facing criminal charges. At Buffalo City Court on Saturday morning, a large throng of mostly men stood packed together outside, assembled in support of the police officers (see below).
The elderly man has been identified as longtime social justice activist Martin Gugino. Gugino was reported to be “alert and oriented” on Friday night.
A statement from Lipman and Zarcone, PLLC: “Mr. Gugino has been a longtime peaceful protester, human rights advocate, and overall fan of the US Constitution for many years. At this time, Mr. Gugino is in serious but stable condition. He is alert and oriented. Mr. Gugino requests privacy for himself and his family as he recovers. He appreciates all of the well wishes he has received and requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful.”
In the graphic video, officers are seen marching toward Gugino before shoving him, causing him to stumble back and fall, hitting his head on the sidewalk. The man laid motionless, blood dripping from his ear, as the phalanx of officers walked right past him.
ABC News reports: “Charges against the officer will not be unsealed until after their arraignment on Saturday, according to the law enforcement source.”
On Friday, all 57 members of the Buffalo Police Emergency Response Team resigned from the unit, in support of the two colleagues who now face charges.
“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.
On Saturday morning, a huge mask-less crowd turned out at the courthouse to support the officers, according to photos posted to social media.
Buffalo’s mayor Byron Brown addressed the incident with Rachel Maddow on Friday night, telling Maddow, “This union has been on the wrong side of history for a very long period of time and they have been a real barrier to reform of policing in the city of Buffalo.”