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Two Buffalo police officers charged with assault of 75-year-old protester

Posted at 9:58 AM, Jun 06, 2020

The Erie County District Attorney's Office announced Saturday two Buffalo police officers that were suspended without pay have been charged with assault in the second degree.

The officers, 32-year-old Robert McCabe and 39-year-old Aaron Torgalski, were suspended without pay on Thursday after 75-year-old Martin Gugino was knocked down by police at a protest in Niagara Square.

Gugino was seriously injured and taken to ECMC, in a statement released through his attorney Friday he was said to be in serious but stable condition and was "alert and oriented."

The entire force of the Buffalo Police Emergency Response Team resigned as of Friday afternoon . The 57 officers have not resigned from the department and will keep their jobs, they have only resigned from their roles on the Emergency Response Team.

A Buffalo PBA representative tells 7 Eyewitness News anchor Hannah Buehler "these officers were simply following orders given by DPC Joe Gramaglia to clear the Square."

While the PBA representative classified the resignation as a "show of support" for the two suspended officers, 7 Eyewitness News spoke to two ERT members, on the condition they not be named, who said that was not the reason they resigned.

McCabe and Torgalski are scheduled to return on July 20 for a felony hearing. They were released on their own recognizance.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn discussed the charges Saturday morning, you can view the press conference below.

Official statement from buffalo police department commissioner Byron C. Lockwood—

Today the Erie County District Attorney’s office made the decision to charge two City of Buffalo police officers in connection with an incident that occurred Thursday night in Niagara Square. The officers remain suspended without pay following my order for an immediate internal investigation into the incident. These last few weeks have obviously been a very challenging time not only for our city and community, but for our entire nation, as we grapple with some very critical issues.

My officers have been through, and continue to work through, one of the most difficult times in our history. I stand by the men and women of the Buffalo Police Department and I’m proud of how they have handled the vast majority of the situations and encounters that they have faced. I hope and pray that we can all work and grow together as we move forward in the City of Buffalo.