Who are Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe? Martin Gugoni sues Buffalo after officers who pushed him not charged

The suit claims that Gugoni's First Amendment rights were violated during the incident in June which saw him end up with a fractured skull and a brain injury


                            Who are Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe? Martin Gugoni sues Buffalo after officers who pushed him not charged
Officer Aaron Torgalski (L), Martin Gugoni (C) and Officer Robert McCabe (R) (Screengrab WKBW news/YouTube)

A 75-year-old protester who was knocked to the ground by police officers last year in Buffalo, New York, during a George Floyd protest has filed a civil lawsuit against the city, according to court documents. Martin Gugino is also suing Mayor Byron Brown; officers Robert McCabe, Aaron Torgalski and John Losi; Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood; and Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, according to the document.

According to reports, the suit claims that his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly were violated during the incident in June which saw him end up with a fractured skull and a brain injury.

Talking about the incident, one of Gugino’s lawyers, Richard Weisbeck Jr. said: “The use of unlawful force against a peaceful protester can never be justified. It is always illegal. Martin was peaceful. “Peaceful protesters, regardless of if a curfew is in effect or not, have a right to still be in public places. Martin and other people exercising their first amendment rights were selectively treated", New York Post reported.

Gugino was reported to have spent a month in the hospital recovering from the injuries he sustained. His lawyer Kelly Zarcone then said that Gugino won’t go to his home and will be recovering at a secret place to protect his privacy. “Martin wants to thank the entire hospital staff for their exceptional dedication and professionalism. He received truly outstanding care and for that, he is grateful.”

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Who are officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe?

Aaron Torgalski was one of the officers identified online partly due to the name tag which was visible in the disturbing video that went viral. According to Newsweek, a LinkedIn profile, now deactivated saw Torgalski as one of the police officers working for Buffalo PD. Calls for firing the second officer went viral that also celeb support in comedian Jim Gaffigan and singer Kacey Musgraves. The site also added that Torgalski was reported to have been earning an annual salary of more than $80,000.

Gugino during the protests (Mike Desmond/WBFO)

McCabe, 32, was the other officer, however, his salary was unavailable. After the incident, McCabe and Torgalski were suspended without pay. They were also booked on charges of second-degree assault. They are expected to face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of the Class D felony. Both the officers pleaded not guilty.

Recent reports saw charges dismissed against the duo. John Evans, the president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, issued a statement: "The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association is extremely pleased with today’s decision by a grand jury to dismiss charges against Buffalo Police Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski," he said.

"As we have stated all along, Officers McCabe and Torgalski were simply following departmental procedures and the directives of their superiors to clear Niagara Square despite working under extremely challenging circumstances. The Buffalo PBA remains in staunch support of Officers McCabe and Torgalski."

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