State Watch

Suspended Buffalo officers charged with second-degree assault

The two Buffalo, N.Y., police officers who were suspended without pay after a video went viral of them shoving and seriously injuring an elderly man have been charged with second-degree assault.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced the charges against officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski during a press conference on Saturday morning.

Both officers were arraigned and released without bail, Flynn said. They are scheduled to appear in court on July 20.

The charges were announced two days after officers were seen on video shoving 75-year-old Martin Gugino after he approached them on a sidewalk.

Gugino fell backward after being shoved and hit his head, with blood leaking from his ear. Instead of helping Gugino up, the officers appeared to walk past him.

Gugino was taken to a local hospital and was in stable but critical condition.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted, “Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law.” He said the video of the incident made him “sick to my stomach.”

Cuomo added that he and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) agreed that the “officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.”

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw released a statement Saturday morning in support of the charged officers.

“Cops are under attack from agitating, extremist radicals that crave anarchy and chaos. Enough is enough,” he said, according to local station WIVB. “It’s time for us to take back our neighborhoods. It’s time to take back our way of life and our great nation.”

A crowd gathered Saturday morning outside the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, where McCabe and Torgalski were charged, WIVB anchor Dave Greber reported. The crowd cheered when the two men left the building.

Flynn, the district attorney, defended his handling of the charges, saying we wasn’t taking sides in the case.

“My job is to prosecute those who break the law. Plain and simple,” he said.

The incident Thursday happened amid protests over police brutality and the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody last week.

Gugino’s niece told CNN that her uncle attended the demonstration in Buffalo to discuss First Amendment rights with police. 

Tags Aaron Torgalski Aaron Torgalski Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo Buffalo Buffalo Police Department New York police brutality Robert McCabe Robert McCabe
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