A grand jury has dismissed assault charges against two suspended Buffalo police officers who were filmed last summer pushing an elderly protester who fell to the ground and went to the hospital with a brain injury.
At a Thursday news conference, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn did not explain the jury’s decision-making, emphasizing that the proceedings are secret as he anticipated backlash to the outcome of the high-profile case. Graphic video of the incident quickly went viral in June amid protests and intense criticism of police use of force following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. After he is pushed, 75-year-old Martin Gugino falls backward onto the pavement, motionless and bleeding.
Flynn repeatedly said that he did not “sandbag” the case that sparked both a public outcry against police violence and a rebellion within the Buffalo Police Department. Dozens of officers resigned from a special squad over the decision to suspend Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe.
Usually this kind of violence is reserved for Black people. But by protesting against police violence against Black people, Gugino gave up his whiteness, at least for those cops and the grand jury.