A US police force’s entire Emergency Response Team has resigned in protest at the suspension of two colleagues who were filmed violently shoving a 75-year-old man to the concrete in New York state.
The entire 57-strong team quit their emergency roles with Buffalo Police Department “in disgust” at the treatment of their two unnamed colleagues, who were suspended from the force without pay.
Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans confirmed the decision in a statement to the Investigative Post:
“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders.”
It’s not clear whether the officers have stepped down from the police force entirely or simply the emergency response team.
The decision comes in the wake of widely-circulated footage showing 75-year-old peace protestor Martin Gugino being aggressively shoved to the ground.
In the video, Mr. Gugino can be seen approaching a large group of police officers wearing tactical gear. Words are exchanged before one of the officers yells at the man to move back.
Another officer then aggressively shoves him backwards, with the man falling to the concrete as a result.
Seconds later, Mr. Gugino can be seen lying, motionless, on the ground as a pool of blood begins to form around his head.
— WBFO (@WBFO) June 5, 2020
The incident was filmed by Mike Desmond, a reporter for local news channel WBFO, who witnessed the incident first-hand.
“At 8 o’clock ... a large number of police officers appeared. I assume that they wanted to do a sweep and get everybody out and there really weren’t many people,” he told NBC.
According to Desmond, as the officers began marching toward a group of protestors, the elderly man attempted to approach them.
He did not appear to be part of the protest group.
Desmond told NBC: "He walked a little bit, was standing there, and was hit with a club as far as I can tell.
“He lost his footing after he was hit, fell back, hit his head on the concrete ... and I could hear his head hit and then within a few seconds, blood started coming out from under his head.”
The disturbing footage sparked widespread anger with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo branding the actions of those officers involved "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful."
"Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law," he said.
Mr. Gugino is in a serious but stable condition in a local hospital.
Despite claims he injured himself after “tripping” the two Buffalo police officers involved have been suspended without pay and are facing a criminal investigation.