Martin Gugino Amherst peace activist in stable condition after being pushed to the ground by two Buffalo, NY cops and hitting his head. Officers suspended.
The 75-year-old man left in a serious condition after two cops in Buffalo, New York, shoved him to the ground, causing him to crack his head open, has been identified as a longtime peace activist from Amherst.
Martin Gugino remained in a serious but stable condition at Erie County Medical Center following the incident caught on video (see below) with cops which left him lying in a pool of his own blood on the sidewalk in front of City Hall Thursday night.
The incident has since led to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for criminal charges to be made against the officers. The officers whose identities were not publicly revealed have since been suspended without pay.
Told Cumo during a Friday press conference, ‘I was sick to my stomach… it was the same feeling I had for 90 of the past nights when I got the death tolls for coronavirus. I was physically sick to my stomach.’
The governor called for the city to fire and charge the two cops responsible for the attack on the elderly man and urged authorities to move quickly.
Just following orders? All 57 members of Buffalo police riot team resign over 2 officer’s suspension
‘I think the city should pursue firing and I think the DA should look at the situation for possible criminal charges and I think that should be done on an expeditious basis,’ he said.
Cuomo urged officials to learn from the handling of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis where authorities were condemned for moving too slowly in bringing charges against the officers who killed him, sparking outrage across America.
‘We saw in Minneapolis that people want answers and they want accountability and they want it quickly,’ said Cuomo.
‘The wheels of justice move slowly – they don’t have to.
‘I would encourage the DA to not do what happened in Minneapolis, which was the delay itself caused issues.’
He pointed to mistakes made where the Minneapolis authorities suggested evidence would lead to the cops involved in Floyd’s death not facing any charges.
‘When the DA said initially “there’s other evidence that suggests something else”… people don’t want vaguery… they’re upset, angry and frustrated… I would encourage the DA to move quickly and fairly and I think the mayor and police chief should pursue firing,’ he added.
This is my good friend, Martin Gugino. A longtime activist and political thinker; has struggled to close Guantanamo as a member of Witness Against Torture; a man of deep faith who spends much of his free time visiting prisoners in Attica. And he’s battling a catastrophic illness. https://t.co/Y7FJkApj5O
— Mark Colville (@AmistadObrero) June 5, 2020
Cuomo praised Mayor Brown for acting quickly in suspending officers immediately Thursday night.
‘The mayor suspended those two cops quickly and I respect that.’
The governor also slammed the actions of the several other officers who ignored the man and kept on walking by as he lay unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk.
‘Where was the threat and then you just walk by the person when you see blood coming from his head and the police officers walk by. It’s fundamentally offensive and frightening,’ he said.
Cuomo said he he had spoken with the elderly man about the incident.
‘I just spoke with Mr Gugino on the phone – who is that gentleman – who thankfully is alive,’ the governor said.
‘But you see that video and it disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity,’ Cuomo said.
‘Why was that necessary? Where was the threat?’ Cuomo reiterated.
Cuomo’s outrage comes as Gugino’s friend Terrence Bisson told Buffalo News the 75-year-old is a peaceful activist who has campaigned against several issues including nuclear disarmament, the detainment of migrant children, climate change and Guantanamo Bay.
Bisson said the elderly man, who has a YouTube channel where he discusses such issues, would ‘never resist physically any kind of orders’.
‘He’s a gentle person who really believes that he must stand up for what he thinks is right,’ he said.
‘That’s why he went to the demonstration. He would never resist physically any kind of orders,’ Bisson said. ‘He’s a bit frail, not because of his age. He has some health problems.’
Thursday night’s incident unfolded as Gugino approaching a line of officers in riot gear outside Buffalo City Hall after the city’s 8pm curfew.
As he tries to speak to the officers, they immediately begin shouting at him to move along, before one of them pushes him with a baton and a second cop shoves him with his hand.
The elderly man is then seen staggering before falling back and hitting his head on the sidewalk.
The sound of a crack is heard and then blood is seen pouring from his head.
In the horrifying scenes, most cops ignore Gugino who lies unresponsive and bleeding on the ground and keep marching past.
The cop who pushed him with a baton is seen pausing to lean over him, before he is motioned away by another officer.
Someone is then heard calling for a medic for the man.
Gugino was taken to the hospital where he is still being kept in a serious but stable condition Friday morning.
Buffalo Police initially released a statement saying a person ‘was injured when he tripped & fell.’
But authorities later confirmed the two cops are under investigation and have been suspended without pay.
Mayor Brown slammed the incident saying he was ‘deeply disturbed by the video.’
‘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. The victim is in stable but serious condition at ECMC,’ he said in a statement late Thursday.
‘After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening.’
The officers were said to have been heading to clear Niagara Square where protests were taking place.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo condemned the incident as ‘wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.’
He also said on Twitter that he spoke with Mayor Brown and agreed that the officers involved should be suspended, pending a formal investigation.
‘Police Officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law,’ he said.
A GoFundMe site established to help Gugino as of Friday afternoon had raised $4200 of a $15K goal.