Police officers from Buffalo, New York, who pushed a 75-year-old man during a Black Lives Matter protest, were cleared of any wrongdoing Friday.
Martin Gugino suffered a fractured skull and was unable to walk after two police officers pushed him to the ground during the June 2020 protest. Arbitrator Jeffrey M. Selchick found that Gugino was not complying with officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe’s orders to leave the area and “was definitely not an innocent bystander,” CNN reported.
McCabe and Torgalski were found not guilty of three charges of violating city and police rules, CNN reported. Their use of force against Gugino was found to be “absolutely legitimate,” the outlet continued. McCabe testified that his use of force against Gugino was a “nudge” to “get him away from our personal space.”
“We had no intention on injuring him,” he said, according to CNN.
Torgalski reportedly testified that he “didn’t make solid contact” with Gugino. Gugino declined to appear at the arbitration despite being subpoenaed to testify, CNN continued. His attorney said that she was not surprised by the ruling and that “this private mediation should not be confused with an independent, transparent, and public court proceeding,” CNN reported.
Two Buffalo police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing after they were filmed shoving a 75-year-old man during a 2020 racial justice protest.
Video shows Martin Gugino losing balance and falling to the ground after being pushed.
He spent weeks in a hospital recovering. pic.twitter.com/3gYTtNd1H9
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 11, 2022
Gugino filed a lawsuit against the city of Buffalo, the mayor, and the two officers involved. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: Has Buffalo Protester Martin Gugino Been Arrested 300 Times?)
The video of the incident went viral, leading to widespread condemnation. Both officers were suspended and charged with assault following the incident, but a grand jury declined to indict either officer in February 2021, according to CNN. The charges were dismissed.
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