Two Buffalo police officers were suspended Thursday night after a video was released showing the officers shoving a protestor.
The 75-year-old man stumbled backward and fell after he was a pushed away from officers walking on the sidewalk.
Following the incident, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced in a statement that “the victim is in stable but serious condition.”
— Byron W. Brown (@MayorByronBrown) June 5, 2020
Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were immediately put on unpaid leave following the release of the video.
The Buffalo Police Department opened an internal investigation regarding the conduct of the two.
In response to the suspension of Torgalski and McCabe, the entirety of the agency’s Emergency Response Team resigned.
The president of the Police Benevolent Association, John Evans, told the press, “Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders.”
In the wake of public uproar both officers were charged with second-degree assault on Saturday. Torgalski and McCabe have since pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their arraignment, the two were released without bail today.
Over 100 supporters, including other police officers, gathered outside of the courthouse to show support for the men.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo showed his support for the decision to prosecute the officers, saying, “I think what the mayor did and the district attorney did was right, and I applaud them for acting as quickly as they did.” He went on to say the actions taken by the officers were “horrendous and disgusting and I believe illegal.”
However, not everyone is as ready to crucify the officers.
John Evans wrote to the Investigative Post to say ”don’t put them out there if you don’t want them to do the job.”
He went on to say “this is an example of officers doing exactly what they’re supposed to and then getting charged. It’s so wrong.”
Court is set to reconvene on July 20th for Torgalski and McCabe. If found guilty of assault the two could face up to seven years in prison.