Shortly after Buffalo’s curfew started Thursday evening, city police and State Police swept through the area of Niagara Square directly in front of City Hall to clear the area where a protest was finishing. An unidentified, 75-year-old man was shoved by two officers wearing tactical gear. The man lost his balance and fell to the pavement, audibly hitting his head with blood running out from under his head.
Two medics came forward and treated him. They helped put him in an ambulance and he was taken away. The man, whom The Buffalo News has identified as Martin Gugino of Amherst, is in serious, but stable condition at ECMC as of Thursday night, reportedly with a concussion and lacerations. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said based on the information he was given, the man is expected to recover. Friday morning, he updated his status as being "alert and oriented."
In the video, several officers are seen walking past the man as he lay bleeding on the ground. An image captured on social media moments earlier showed the man returning a helmet to an officer.
A Buffalo Police spokesman issued a statement at 8:50 p.m. Thursday saying "a 5th person was arrested during a skirmish with other protestors and also charged with disorderly conduct. During that skirmish involving protestors, one person was injured when he tripped & fell."
WBFO posted video of the incident on Twitter at 9:13 p.m. Following that posting, department officials said a full Internal Affairs investigation was underway and that Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood had ordered the immediate suspension of the two officers involved, without pay. The officers have not been formally identified, but the name plate of one is visible in the video.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown issued the following statement at 11:05 p.m., saying he was "deeply disturbed by the video":
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