The Mayor of Buffalo, New York, ordered on Wednesday that a new police unit without military equipment and trained in civil rights should conduct peaceful demonstrations after a riot unit was involved in the injury of a 75-year-old protester.
Mayor Byron Brown said the detail of public protection would receive training in freedom of expression and other rights and “work with leaders and participants in future protests and demonstrations to ensure the safety and security of all people.”
Two officers of the tactical unit in Buffalo are charged with sexual assault for pushing Martin Gugino on Thursday when he approached them during a march against racism and police brutality during nationwide demonstrations of the death of a black man in custody in Minneapolis.
Aaron Torgalski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32, the two Buffalo officers, were part of a special riot police called the Emergency Response Team.
A video of the incident shows the white-haired Gugino approaching a row of officers in riot gear. An officer pushes him with a baton and a second one with his hand. Gugino falls backwards on the sidewalk, a cracking sound and blood dripping from his head as officers walk past his silent body.
“It has become clear that meeting protesters with a tactical unit of officers is not going to lead to peaceful results,” Brown said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet on Tuesday, without evidence, that Gugino has ties to the antifascist movement antifa and that his fall that caused his injuries could be “intentional.”
The White House defended Trump’s tweet on Wednesday, calling Gugino’s lawyer “ dark, dangerous, and untrue. ”
Gugino told USA Today on Tuesday that he was not in intensive care in the hospital and thought he would recover. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.