Police Who Pushed Over Elderly Protester Cleared Of Wrongdoing
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Featured Image Credit: WBFO
Two Buffalo police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing after pushing an elderly protester to the ground.
The incident unfolded during a Black Lives Matter protest in Niagara Square back in June 2020, coming after the murder of George Floyd earlier that year.
Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old man, was left with a fractured skull and unable to walk for a short time after Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe shoved him to the ground. In shocking footage, you could see Gugino head hitting the pavement.
You can watch the footage below – warning, some may find it upsetting:
In the immediate wake of the incident, the officers were charged with second-degree assault and released without bail. Both pleaded not guilty, and a jury decided not to indict them on the charges.
Now, Torgalski and McCabe have also been cleared of violating the Buffalo Police Department's use-of-force guidelines, MailOnline reports.
Arbitrating, Jeffrey Selchick said: "Upon review, there is no evidence to sustain any claim that Respondents [police officers] had any other viable options other than to move Gugino out of the way of their forward movement."
Selchick said the officers were justified in their use of force because Gugino refused to comply with their instructions, and was supposedly 'acting erratically'.
75 year-old Martin Gugino protesting against police violence and racism in Buffalo, NY in June 2020. pic.twitter.com/wFvSh1CC5B— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) March 7, 2021
He added: "The use of force employed by Respondents reflected no intent on their part to do more than to move Gugino away from them."
Last year, Gugino's attorneys filed a lawsuit against Buffalo, alleging his civil rights were violated.
Richard Weisbeck, one of his lawyers, told WBFO: "He's seeking compensation for severe injuries he suffered as a result of being a victim of police violence, and he wants to continue to protect and reinforce his constitutional rights and the rights of his fellow citizens to be able to walk into public places and have their voices heard.
Martin Gugino, pushed to the ground by Buffalo police in a video seen worldwide, speaks out against brutality during a news conference urging prosecution of bad cops. pic.twitter.com/4MaA17qwXY— Matthew Spina (@MatthewSpina1) October 7, 2020
"If the roles were reversed, and Gugino pushed a BPD officer who then fractured his skull, he would have been immediately indicted, and for good reason."
Melissa Wischerath, also an attorney for Gugino, said the police department's decision wouldn't have any bearing on their lawsuit.
She said: "We are not aware of any case where this arbitrator has ruled against on-duty police officers, so his ruling here on behalf of the police was not only expected by us, but was certainly expected by the union and city who selected and paid him."
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Topics: News, US News, Black Lives Matter, Police