Elderly protester who was pushed to the ground by Buffalo police officers has suffered brain injury, says lawyer
Martin Gugino had been forcefully pushed at a protest in front of Buffalo City Hall, causing him to hit his head on the pavement
BUFFALO, NEW YORK: A 75-year-old man was filmed being pushed to the ground by Buffalo police officers at a George Floyd protest. Martin Gugino, of Amherst, had become the talk of national media after a video captured him being attacked as he was standing in front of Buffalo City Hall at around 8.10 pm on June 4, following a peaceful protest had dispersed for the day. Reports suggest that he has suffered a brain injury because of the incident.
Watch the video here.
Gugino could be seen approaching a group of police officers, but within seconds is shoved forcefully backward. The push causes him to stumble and fall back and hit his head on the sidewalk. Blood could be seen running from his ear and pooling around his head.
WBFO reported that an officer who tried to help the 75-year-old was pushed away by another before emergency medical attention was administered and that a National Guard had to intervene and help him.
Gugino had subsequently been admitted to the hospital in a serious but stable condition and saw his condition upgraded to fair earlier this week, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. He has since been moved to Erie County Medical Center’s rehabilitation floor.
On Thursday, June 11, his lawyer Kelly Zarcone revealed that her client's brain had been injured in the attack and that he has now started physical therapy.
"Martin is a soft-spoken but thoughtful and principled man," she said in an email statement. "As heartbreaking as it is, his brain is injured and he is well aware of that now."
"He feels encouraged and uplifted by the outpouring of support which he has received from so many people all over the globe. It helps," Zarcone continued. "He is looking forward to healing and determining what his 'new normal' might look like."
The incident provoked a furious reaction from not only Buffalo citizens but also from those around the country and prompted law enforcement officials to suspend and charge the two police officers involved with second-degree assault, a felony.
However, many have not taken to the news well and touted conspiracy theories that Gugino was not a protester but someone who was at the scene to disrupt police communication and seed chaos. Amongst the purveyors of such theories is President Donald Trump, who tweeted that the 75-year-old might be an "Antifa provocateur."
"Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an Antifa provocateur," Trump wrote. "75-year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to blackout the equipment. I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a setup?"
Several members of the Buffalo Police Department also tendered their resignation from the Emergency Response Team formed to respond to the riots after it was announced that the officers would be charged. "Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders," said John T. Evans, the president of the Buffalo police union. "At this time, we can confirm that contingency plans are in place to maintain police services and ensure public safety within our community. The Buffalo police continue to actively work with the New York State Police and other cooperating agencies."