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Two Buffalo Police Officers charged with felony assault after injuring 75-year-old man

In an image from video, Buffalo police shove a man while clearing Niagara Square last Thursday. The man struck his head on the pavement and began bleeding as officers walked by. (Mike Desmond / WBFO-TV)

Last Thursday a video began spreading on social media of a man who was pushed by riot police near the Buffalo City Hall in Buffalo, New York. The man, reportedly 75 years old, fell on his back and began bleeding from his head after being pushed. The graphic video can be seen here in an article on WBFO.

According to an article on WBEN, Buffalo police released a statement that the man “…was injured when he tripped and fell,” leaving out the fact that he was pushed by a riot policeman as evident in the video.

“It sickens me. I’ve confirmed he is at ECMC in stable condition. My thoughts are with him now,” Mark Poloncarz, Erie County’s executive, said on Twitter regarding the incident.

As reported by the Washington Post, the man, who was identified Martin Gugino, is believed to be in “stable but serious condition,” according to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Cpt. Jeff Rinaldo of the Buffalo Police Department believes Gugino suffered a laceration and a “possible concussion.”

The two police officers directly involved were suspended without pay, on Thursday night, according to the New York Times. As of Saturday morning, the two officers, identified as Aaron Togalski, 38, and Robert McCabe, 32, were charged with felony assault, on the basis that the man who was attacked was over 65 years old. The officers pleaded not guilty and were released on recognizance, where they are expected to be in court on July 20, according to ABCNews

“The incident in Buffalo is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful…Police officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law,” The Governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, said of the incident in a public statement.

On Friday, 57 members of the Emergency Response Team, part of the Buffalo Police Department, “resigned in disgust because of the treatment of their two members,” said John Evans, President of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, according to WGRZ. Executive Poloncarz spoke out on the resignations, saying “If they resigned, I’m exceptionally disappointed by it because it indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night,”

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