A 75-year-old man who was seen shoved to the ground by Buffalo police and bleeding on the ground during a protest last year is suing police and other officials, court documents show.
Martin Gugino suffered a broken skull during the June 4 meeting, which was captured on video.
The action in US District Court for the Western District of New York seeks economic damages as well as punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to punish them and deter others from behaving in the same way. way”.
A prosecutor has filed charges against two Buffalo cops, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, but a grand jury earlier this month denied the charges and the case was dropped.
These two officers are named in the civil suit, along with a third who has not been charged, along with the city, Police Commissioner and Mayor Byron Brown.
Requests for comment emailed to the mayor’s office and police department were not immediately returned early Tuesday, but on Monday the city made no comment to NBC affiliate WGRZ. A spokesperson told the station that the company’s lawyer would handle the case.
Gugino was pushed out shortly after an 8 p.m. curfew went into effect.
The protest came in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck on May 25. Floyd’s death sparked protests across the country.
The complaint said the police team “shouted in chorus,” push him, push him “” after Gugino approached a line of police with batons and helmets.
He alleges that another officer pushed McCabe and Torgalski towards the activist and they then pushed him, causing him to fall and be seriously injured.
After the charges were dismissed earlier this month, the president of the Buffalo Police Charitable Association defended the police actions.
“Officers McCabe and Torgalski were simply following departmental procedures and direction from their superiors to clean up Niagara Square as they worked under extremely difficult circumstances,” union president John Evans said. in a report.
Gugino suffered a concussion and a fractured skull and spent almost a month in hospital.
Gugino said he believed the curfew was incorrect.
The lawsuit says that Gugino’s right to peaceful assembly was violated, that the use of force against him was illegal and unnecessary and that the curfew was unconstitutional.