The Buffalo News on Monday published new video from last summer’s police deployment in the New York city’s Niagara Square that resulted in 75-year-old protester Martin Gugino being pushed to the pavement and suffering a skull fracture and brain injury.
The new videos, recorded by three officers’ body cameras on June 4, 2020, show Gugino approaching officers with a motorcycle helmet in one hand and a cellphone in the other, with a relatively empty square in the background.
“You’re using those sticks,” Gugino says in one of the videos as he approaches the line, referring to the batons the officers are wielding.
Officers along the line respond by yelling, “Push him back!”
Soon after, the officer Gugino approached uses his baton to roughly shove Gugino backward. He stumbles and hits his head on the pavement with an audible crack, lying motionless as blood pours from his ears.
“Ooooh. Oh, he’s bleeding,” someone can be heard saying off-camera.
“He’s bleeding out of his ears!” someone else shouts, as a third calls for a medic.
Gugino suffered a fractured skull and brain injury in the incident, which left him hospitalized for nearly a month and unable to walk.
In February, a grand jury declined to indict officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe on felony assault charges.
Citing grand jury secrecy rules, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn declined to discuss the panel’s decision. He did, however, defend his decision to bring the charges, saying the graphic video that went viral “speaks for itself.”
Gugino told Buffalo’s Spectrum News at the time he was surprised by the grand jury’s decision, adding he had hoped the incident might “change the direction of the police department.”