(TMU) – Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has sided with the police officers who threw 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground, busting his head and hospitalizing him. Footage of the incident has since gone viral and horrified millions, and while the police officers involved have been charged, the police department has stood by them, and now the mayor has too, saying that all of the officers will keep their jobs.
During a press conference, Mayor Brown claimed that Gugino was an “agitator” who was a “major instigator” with rioting and looting that was taking place in the city. However, Brown provided no evidence to back up his claims that the 75-year-old peace activist was encouraging the youth to rob stores and set things on fire.
However, even if this were true, it is unlikely that the police on the front lines would be aware of this, so it appears to be an ex post facto justification for the force that was used against the old man, and it probably isn’t even true.
“What we were informed of is that individual was an agitator. He was trying to spark up the crowd of people. Those people were there into the darkness. Our concern is when it gets dark, there is a potential for violence,” Brown said, according to WGRZ.
“There has been vandalism, there have been fires set, there have been stores broken into and looted. According to what was reported to me, that individual was a key major instigator of people engaging in those activities,” he added.
If Gugino was suspected of being an instigator of rioting or looting, and his identity was known to police, he would have just been arrested, instead of pushed away. In fact, Buffalo Police did arrest people they suspected of being involved in the riots, including a 27-year-old man who posted a Facebook event page about the protests.
The mayor also said that Gugino was asked to leave the area numerous times, another irrelevant claim that does not justify the force used in the incident. Witnesses on the scene also said that the protest was not particularly volatile when Gugino was assaulted, and that there were only about 20 protesters gathered in the area where the incident happened.
The mayor also admitted that Buffalo Police Department made an “error” when claiming that the Gugino simply tripped and fell.
“I will be the first to say that initial communication was an error but it was a desire to respond to media inquiries really quickly and to provide information to the community quickly,” Brown said.
Hundreds of police officers showed up outside of the Buffalo courtroom where both of the cops involved in the incident pleaded not guilty to assault charges. Yesterday, 75 officers, the entire Emergency Response Team that was deployed at the protests, resigned in support of the two officers, who had recently been suspended without pay. Even though these officers have resigned from the team that was deployed to suppress the demonstrations, they are still employed with the Buffalo Police Department.
NOW: Large crowd in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers who are expected to be charged…
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