Buffalo police officers plead not guilty to accusing a 75-year-old man

Buffalo police suspended after the video shows a 75-year-old man being pushed during protests

Both were charged with a second degree assault count and were released with their acknowledgment without bail.

The officers – identified by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office as Aaron Torgalski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32 – they were enrolled via video conference and had the same lawyer. The agents, who were on the police department’s emergency response team, are expected to appear in court again on July 20.

CNN is attempting to reach Torgalski and McCabe for comment.

Thursday’s demonstration video shows two officers rejecting Martin Gugino. He falls on the sidewalk, where his head is bleeding. Officers and others follow him, some watch him go by.

Gugino was hospitalized with a head injury.

The agents turned on Saturday morning, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a press conference after the crackdown.

Flynn said he was ready to load the officers on Friday, but “did not want to spill gas on the fire” after learning 57 officials discharged from the emergency response team on Friday and “would not have come last night to protect the city of Buffalo.”

Flynn was concerned about the safety of the city, the demonstrators and officers on Friday evening.

“I was generally worried about what could potentially happen if I did it yesterday afternoon and there wasn’t enough security in the center,” he said, “so I decided to do it this morning.”

Asked how the officers should have responded to a 75-year-old protester, Flynn said, “Don’t crack a skull on concrete.” If the man was doing something illegal, he should have been arrested, Flynn said.

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“Don’t take a truncheon and shovel, along with the officer next to him” and take it down and “split your head,” said Flynn.

Flynn’s comments came after Governor Andrew Cuomo said officers should be fired on Friday and prosecutors should move “fairly but quickly”.

“When I saw the video, I got sick to my stomach,” said Cuomo. “I would like to encourage the district attorney not to do what happened in Minneapolis, which caused the delay itself. People don’t want to wander. They are upset and want answers.”

Mayor Byron Brown told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday evening that he was told that officers from the emergency response team are trained to continue moving forward.

“Incorporated with them are doctors, officers with first aid training,” he said. “The doctors were just behind the first-line unit that continued to move forward and within seconds the doctors provided first aid.”

CNN’s Jay Croft contributed to this report.


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