5.9k Share this

Two Buffalo police officers caught on camera shoving an elderly protester to the ground – fracturing his skull – have been cleared of wrongdoing in the incident.

A state arbitrator ruled Friday that Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe didn’t violate department use-of-force guidelines when they pushed longtime activist Martin Gugino, 75, to the ground during a George Floyd protest outside City Hall in June 2020, the Buffalo News reported.

Torgalski and McCabe were suspended without pay and faced felony second-degree assault charges, but a grand jury declined to indict them in February.

Video of the encounter showed the officers yell at Gugino to move away from City Hall after a curfew went into effect before one cop pushed him, causing him to fall backward and slam his head into the pavement. He spent about a month in the hospital recovering from a fractured skull and brain injury.

The officers testified before an arbitrator that they were trying to protect themselves at the time and denied trying to hurt Gugino. Arbitrator Jeffrey Selchick ruled the use of force was “absolutely legitimate” and that Gugino was “definitely not an innocent bystander,” the Buffalo News reported.

Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe.
A state arbitrator ruled that Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe didn’t violate department use-of-force guidelines when they pushed Martin Gugino.
Erie County DA/EPA

“There is no persuasive evidence, particularly when the [footage] is reviewed in its various frames, that the [officers] sought to push or drive Gugino to the ground,” Selchick wrote.

Gugino likely lost his balance because he was carrying items in both hands, his age or shock that the cops tried to push him away, Selchick determined.

Torgalski also testified he was concerned Gugino was getting close to his service weapon and was worried about catching COVID-19 from the protester.

Man shoved by police.
Video of the encounter showed the officers yell at Martin Gugino to move away from City Hall after a curfew went into effect.
WBFO via REUTERS TV
Man shoved by police.
One cop is seen pushing Martin Gugino, causing him to fall backward and slam his head into the pavement.
WBFO via REUTERS TV
Police knock down old man.
Martin Gugino spent about a month in the hospital recovering from a fractured skull and brain injury.
Mike Desmond/WBFO NPR/AFP via Getty Images

“Something wasn’t right and I don’t know what this gentlemen is capable of, but something [was] off about the situation that makes you feel uneasy,” Torgalski reportedly testified. “I steadied my right arm and attempted to get him out of my space and push him away.”

The suspended cops were put back on city payroll 30 days after the incident, which went viral on social media. They’ll be reinstated to full duty on Monday, the newspaper reported.

An attorney for Gugino, who has sued the city, said the arbitrator’s ruling did not come as a surprise.

Martin Gugino.
Martin Gugino said he went to City Hall to voice his displeasure over a curfew imposed by Mayor Byron Brown during Black Lives Matter protests.
Facebook

“We are not aware of any case where this arbitrator has ruled against on-duty police officers, so his ruling here on behalf of the police was not only expected by us, but was certainly expected by the union and city who selected and paid him,” attorney Melissa Wischerath said. “His decision has absolutely no bearing on the pending lawsuit.”

Gugino, for his part, has said he went to City Hall to voice his displeasure over a curfew imposed by Mayor Byron Brown during Black Lives Matter protests.

“The point was suppressing dissent … a peaceful protest … and you can’t do that,” Gugino told the Buffalo News last year. “So I went there to talk to the policemen.”

Source: NYPOST

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like
Southern Baptist Convention accused of cover up involving sexual abuse victims, according to Guidepost report

Southern Baptist Convention accused of cover up involving sexual abuse victims, according to Guidepost report

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, stonewalled and…

Liam Payne SPLITS from on-off fiancée Maya Henry as photos of him with mystery woman emerge

Liam Payne and his on-off fiancée Maya Henry have split for good,…
Gunman jumps on party boat trying to escape after opening fire in Millennium Park

Gunman jumps on party boat trying to escape after opening fire in Millennium Park

Gunman jumps on party boat trying to escape after opening fire in…

Dems Interfere in NV GOP Primary to Stop Trump-Backed Candidate

Democrat super PACs are posing as Republicans and spending millions of dollars…
Millennium Park shooting: Charges filed against Jordan Jackson, shot by off-duty Cook County sheriff officer: Chicago police

Millennium Park shooting: Charges filed against Jordan Jackson, shot by off-duty Cook County sheriff officer: Chicago police

CHICAGO (WLS) — The man shot in the buttocks by an off-duty…
The Colorado house where convicted murderer Chris Watts killed his pregnant wife, before murdering their children, is on sale for $660,000. Watts and his wife bought the home for just shy of $400,000 in 2013. The property was listed for auction in 2019, after the murders, when Watts defaulted on his mortgage and the bank foreclosed on the home

Colorado home where Chris Watts strangled his wife to death is secretly listed for sale

The Colorado house where convicted murderer Chris Watts killed his pregnant wife,…
I-Team: Rogue Towers

I-Team: Rogue Towers

Tow truck companies accused of hiking prices – AFTER they take your…
Two men charged in mass shooting that left 2 dead, 7 wounded on Near North Side

Two men charged in mass shooting that left 2 dead, 7 wounded on Near North Side

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two men are facing felony charges in the mass shooting…