Assault charges dropped against Buffalo police officers seen pushing protester

Assault charges against two Buffalo, New York, police officers found in a video pushing a 75-year-old man into the ground during a protest last year have been dropped, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Assault charges dropped against Buffalo police officers seen pushing protester

Assault charges against two Buffalo, New York, police officers found in a video pushing a 75-year-old man into the ground during a protest last year have been dropped, prosecutors announced Thursday.

TheEditor
TheEditor
14 February 2021 Sunday 05:16
254 Reads
Assault charges dropped against Buffalo police officers seen pushing protester

From the video, protester Martin Gugino is seen walking in the direction of their officers before they are seen pushing him. Gugino dropped flat onto his back and hit on the back of his head on the concrete, movie displays.

The grand jury voted to"no charge" that the scenario, ultimately dismissing the charges, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn explained during a press briefing Thursday.

"To this very day, I will stand by that charges should have been charged, and there was probable cause at that time to control that offense, and I stand by that," Flynn explained. "I make no apologies for it."

The grand jury proceedings are sealed and Flynn was unable to elaborate about what happened, but he said prosecutors"put all pertinent evidence" before the grand jury, including numerous witnesses.

"You have my word on that."

The two officers, who were suspended after the incident, entered not guilty pleas during their arraignment in June. The situation was delayed getting to the grand jury because of COVID-19 restrictions who had shut the courts, Flynn said.

Joseph Latona, the lawyer for Torgalski, told ABC News they were"obviously very pleased" by the grand jury's decision.

"We believe they made the ideal choice," he explained. "And of course it was their choice to make."

Thomas Burton, the lawyer for McCabe, told ABC News they are focused on getting the officers"back in the saddle in the place where they belong."

"nobody wanted to see Mr. Gugino get hurt, but this did not occur because these two cops hunted out to hurt anybody," Burton said. "The main point is, there is nothing malevolent here."

Gugino told Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW Thursday night he was shocked the charges against the officers were lost. "It's a surprise and I believe that the entire world will be amazed," he explained.

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

In a statement to ABC News Friday, Gugino along with his lawyer, Kelly Zarcone, said that, like Flynn, they thought the episode"deserved serious scrutiny."

"What occurred to me is only a little, miniature, minuscule piece of... what occurs in the Dark communities all of the time," he told"GMA." "We must do better. We have to do better than this."

Both officers stay suspended pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. It is unclear at this stage when that will be completed, Buffalo Police Department Capt. Jeff Rinaldo told ABC News Thursday.

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

"As we've stated all along, Officers McCabe and Torgalski were simply following departmental processes and the directives of the superiors to clean Niagara Square despite working under extremely challenging circumstances."

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

"He shouldn't have been shoved. He must have been arrested peacefully."

Keywords:
Assault
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