Police in Buffalo, New York released a statement on Thursday claiming that an elderly man who was protesting police brutality had “tripped and fell” in front of Buffalo City Hall before being taken to the hospital. But that all changed when video went viral on social media showing the 75-year-old man had been pushed by police. The unnamed man, who appeared to be bleeding from his ear, is reportedly in “serious but stable condition.”
“Police say a 5th person was arrested during a skirmish with other protesters and also charged with disorderly conduct. During that skirmish involving protesters, one person was injured when he tripped & fell,” a Buffalo Police spokesperson said in a statement obtained by a local reporter at 8:50 p.m.
Presumably, the police statement is written in the third person so that local news outlets can just copy and paste their claims without attribution. But the initial police statement simply isn’t true, as anyone can see from video that was first posted to Twitter at 9:13 p.m. ET, less than a half hour after the Buffalo PD’s lies.
The elderly man simply didn’t trip and fall. He was violently shoved by police in just the latest example of police brutality against demonstrators during international protests following the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in Minneapolis, by white police officers on Memorial Day.
The video was captured by an employee of WBFO, a local NPR affiliate, and published to Twitter before being spread across several platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. The video currently has over 43 million views on Twitter alone as of Friday morning.
The image of the elderly man bleeding on the pavement is disturbing, but what’s even more troubling is that none of the police officers appear to be helping him. One officer makes a move to apparently assist the man, but another cop pulls him away in one of the most callous things ever captured on video.
None of the other officers help the 75-year-old man as blood pours out of his ear, motionless except for his hand slowly dropping to his side.
Buffalo Police have not issued a statement admitting that they lied about the incident, but Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown released his own statement saying that two of the police officers have been suspended without pay.
“Tonight, after a physical altercation between two separate groups of protesters participating in an illegal demonstration beyond the curfew, two Buffalo Police officers knocked down a 75-year-old man,” Brown said.
“The victim is in stable but serious condition at ECMC. I was deeply disturbed by the video, as was Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood. He directed an immediate investigation into the matter, and the two officers have been suspended without pay,” Brown continued.
Shockingly, none of the officers have been arrested, something that would certainly happen if this violent assault was perpetrated by people who weren’t cops. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted late last night that the incident was “unjustified and utterly disgraceful” and that “officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.”
There were multiple angles captured of the incident, including one from local ABC affiliate WKBW. And yet WKBW declined to air the full video for some reason during last night’s broadcast.
“We are stopping the video before blood appears from the back of his head,” WKBW newscaster Jeff Russo explained in a segment that’s now available on YouTube. It’s funny how local TV news outlets get concerned with violent imagery when it’s the police to blame.
Cops continue to terrorize peaceful protesters on American streets, with countless new videos of police brutality emerging overnight. In Los Angeles, police beat peaceful protesters with batons in the Fairfax District, and in New York police reportedly arrested neutral legal observers. Cops also wailed on peaceful protesters in Philadelphia.
There are far too many cases of police brutality to document at this point, as Republican lawmakers call for even harsher tactics against protesters. Senator Tom Cotton even took the opportunity to call for a violent military crackdown in the pages of the New York Times—on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests in China, no less.
Stay safe out there, friends. There’s still a pandemic goin on and the police are only going to crack down harder as they take their cues from President Trump, a white supremacist who gets more fascist by the day. The White House now has elaborate fencing outside and over 4,000 National Guard troops have been called in to Washington, D.C. to serve as Trump’s personal bunker protectors.
The protests aren’t going away anytime soon, so also remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. The whole world is watching and the global masses are on the side of the U.S. protesters. The cops will continue to terrorize average Americans, but you are not alone, with protests from New Zealand to France to Sweden insisting that Black lives really do matter.
The people united is a beautiful thing.
Update, 12:40 p.m. ET: The Buffalo News has identified the 75-year-old protester as a longtime peace activist named Martin Gugino.
Gugino grew up in Buffalo, moved to Cleveland where he worked in computer technology, before returning to Western New York where he has been involved in a broad array of issues ranging from nuclear disarmament to climate change and Guantanamo. He has a YouTube channel with 35 subscribers in which he discusses such issues.
Recently, he has been active in his support of the Kings Bay Plowshares, a group of anti-nuclear activists who were convicted of entering a nuclear submarine station in Georgia, Bisson said.
“If you hang around with these Plowshares people, your personal comfort is not the first consideration; justice is your first consideration,” Bisson said.
Gugino also has a Twitter account, where his last tweets were sent roughly two hours before being assaulted by police.
“Protests are exempt from curfews because Congress (and mayors) may make no laws that abridge the right of the people peaceably to assemble and complain to the government,” Gugino tweeted on Thursday. “The government should receive the complaint with thanks, not arrest the people or beat them.”
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.