Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, who have shown on video pushing a 75-year-old demonstrator to the ground on Thursday, are being investigated for possible criminal liability, a spokeswoman for the district attorney for the region said Friday.
“The Erie County prosecutor continues to investigate the incident videotaped outside City Hall on Thursday evening that led to the injury of” a protester, Kait Munro said in an emailed statement.
Munro said the investigation was “into possible criminal charges.”
Protests over the murder of George Floyd by the police continued until their 10th night on Thursday.
The video taken by a reporter from the local public radio station WBFO and posted on the website and Twitter account shows the white-haired man approaching a row of officers in riot gear. An officer pushes him with a baton and a second one with his hand. The sound of a squat can be heard, and then blood drips from the man’s head. The white man is not identified.
“I was deeply troubled by the video,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in a statement late Thursday evening. “After days of peaceful protests and several encounters between myself, police leaders and community members, the event is daunting tonight.”
The incident drew widespread social media conviction when protesters returned to the streets of several U.S. cities to demonstrate against police brutality.
Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after former police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
The video in Buffalo shows that the majority of officers march past after the man falls, although the officer who pushed him with a stick begins to lean over him before being sent away by another officer. Someone hears a doctor calling.
The radio station reported that two doctors came forward and assisted the man in an ambulance. Police later said that a man was injured after tripping and falling, the radio station said.
But after watching the video, Buffalo police commissioner Byron Lockwood ordered an investigation and suspended the two officers, Brown said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter that he spoke to Mayor Brown and agreed to suspend the agents involved pending a formal investigation.