Erie County DA Officially Brings Charges Against Buffalo Police Officers

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Posted: Jun 06, 2020 12:48 PM
Erie County DA Officially Brings Charges Against Buffalo Police Officers

Source: AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Editor's Note: This piece contains graphic content.

Erie Country District Attorney John Flynn on Saturday announced charges against Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, the two Buffalo police officers caught on camera pushing 75-year-old Martin Gugino who failed to back up during a sweep of Niagara Square, near city hall. Gugino argued with McCabe and Torgalski, at which point they pushed him, causing him to stumble and fall. When Gugino fell back, he hit his head on the cement, where blood can be seen flowing from his head. 

Warning: GRAPHIC CONTENT

One department officials received a copy of the video, both officers were placed on unpaid leave. 

Flynn stated the two officers have been charged with second-degree assault. Both McCabe and Torgalski plead not guilty, were arraigned and released without bail. They are due to appear in court on July 20, The Hill reported.

Flynn told a local reporter he has an obligation to charge the two officers.

When the officers left the DA's office, cheers erupted.

Those in Buffalo appear to be at odds with one another over the incident. Mayor Byron Brown said the footage "was very difficult to watch" but it didn't provide all information. According to Brown, the police department has a first-aid protocol in place. Officers on the front lines are supposed to allow trained medics on the force to handle all first aid needs.

"So the officers in the front are not supposed to render assistance because right behind them, right by them, are others who are medics who are trained medically to provide assistance, and that is what happened," Byron said. "Assistance was provided to the gentleman that was pushed and fell, by others that were embedded with that grouping of officers that were right behind them. I don't think the cameras picked that up well."

After the two officers were put on unpaid leave, all 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team resigned. They did so in support of McCabe and Torgalski.