State Watch

Corrected: Buffalo mayor says protester tackled by state police was described as ‘major instigator’

Buffalo, N.Y., Mayor Byron Brown (D) said on Friday that he was told a protester who was tackled and arrested by state police earlier in the week was a “major instigator” and an “agitator.”

Brown said state police officers were involved in the arrest of the protester, Myles Carter, last Monday and that the city does not have the ability to take action against them.

“What we were informed of is that that individual was an agitator. He was trying to spark up the crowd of people,” Brown told reporters, according to a recording of his comments reported by radio station WBEN.

“According to what has been reported to me, that individual was a key and major instigator of people engaging in those kinds of activities,” Brown added.

Carter told news outlets Friday that he had his hands in the air with his back to the police when several officers rushed toward him and tackled him to the ground. He was charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration, WGRZ-TV reported.

Brown’s comments came at the same time video showing Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old man, being pushed down by a Buffalo police officer went viral.

Asked if Gugino was one of the protesters who started fights during protests, Brown said he did not know.

“There was that activity in that immediate area during the course of the curfew period approaching, and because of that the officers felt the situation was more volatile at that time and wanted to clear the protesters or the people that remained after the peaceful protest and remained after the curfew,” he said.

“Can you walk us through what the volatility is when a 75-year-old man walks up to the police officers with something in his hand. Obviously we don’t know what that was. But what is the volatility there?” a reporter asked Brown.

“I didn’t speak in relation to the volatility of that individual. I spoke in terms of volatility of the situation,” Brown responded.

In a graphic video shot by a WBFO journalist earlier in the week, Gugino is seen slowly approaching the police until one officer tells him to move and pushes him.

A person can be heard yelling, “He’s bleeding out of his ear!” and calling out for medics. Gugino is then seen lying on his back with blood spilling from his ear.

Two Buffalo police officers involved in the incident have been suspended and charged with assault.

Following their suspensions, 57 officers resigned from the force’s emergency response team in support of their two colleagues.

Rebecca Klar contributed to this report, which was last updated on June 7 at 1:51 p.m.

Editor’s note: WBEN initially reported that Brown said Gugino was described as a “major instigator,” and an earlier version of this story included incorrect information as a result.

Tags Buffalo Buffalo Police Department Byron Brown curfew George Floyd George Floyd protests Martin Gugino Myles Carter New York
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