Assault charges dropped against Buffalo police officers Noticed pushing protester

Assault charges against two Buffalo, New York, police officers seen in a video pushing a 75-year-old person into the floor in a demonstration last year have already been dropped, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Assault charges dropped against Buffalo police officers Noticed pushing protester

Assault charges against two Buffalo, New York, police officers seen in a video pushing a 75-year-old person into the floor in a demonstration last year have already been dropped, prosecutors announced Thursday.

TheEditor
TheEditor
12 February 2021 Friday 14:19
409 Reads
Assault charges dropped against Buffalo police officers Noticed pushing protester

In the video, protester Martin Gugino is seen walking in the direction of the officers before they are seen pushing him. Gugino fell flat onto his spine and then bumped the back of his head on the concrete, movie shows.

The grand jury voted to"no bill" the scenario, ultimately dismissing the charges, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said through a media briefing Thursday.

Flynn defended his decision to bring charges against the officers.

"To this very day, I'll stand by the fact that charges should have been billed, and there was probable cause at the time to charge that crime, and I stand by that," Flynn explained.

The grand jury proceeding are sealed and Flynn was not able to elaborate about what happened, but he said prosecutors"place all pertinent evidence" before the grand jury, for example multiple witnesses.

"I sandbagged nothing," he explained. "You've got my word on this."

Both officials, that were suspended after the incident, entered not guilty pleas in their arraignment in June. The situation was delayed getting to the grand jury due to COVID-19 restrictions that had shut the courts, Flynn said.

Joseph Latona, the attorney for Torgalski, told ABC News that they were"clearly very happy" by the grand jury's decision.

"We believe they made the right decision," he explained. "And obviously it was their choice to make."

Thomas Burton, the attorney for McCabe, told ABC News they're focused on obtaining the officers"back in the saddle in the place where they belong."

"Nobody wanted to see Mr. Gugino get hurt, but this didn't occur because both of these cops sought out to hurt anyone," Burton said. "The bottom line is, there is nothing malevolent here."

Gugino advised ABC affiliate WKBW Thursday night he's shocked that the charges against the officers were lost. "It is a surprise and I believe that the entire world is going to be amazed," he said.

"You think I'm breaking the law, detain me," Gugino added, referring to the officers' use of force . "Don't push me down. Where is that in the training manual?"

Both officers stay suspended pending the results of an internal affairs investigation. It's unclear at this point when that will be finished, Buffalo Police Department Captain Jeff Rinaldo told ABC News Thursday.

The Buffalo police union issued a statement in support of their officers after the grand jury's conclusion.

"As we've said all along, Officers McCabe and Torgalski were only following departmental procedures and the directives of the superiors to clean Niagara Square despite working under extremely challenging conditions."

Gugino was one of fewer than 20 demonstrators protesting against the death of George Floyd at Minnesota while in police custody. The demonstration occurred after a Buffalo curfew, Flynn noted.

"There was a curfew, and he broke the law," Flynn explained. "He shouldn't have been pushed. He should've been detained "

Keywords:
Assault
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