75-Year-Old Man Pushed by Police in Protest Is Released From Hospital: Lawyer

July 1, 2020 Updated: July 1, 2020

A 75-year-old man who was pushed to the ground during George Floyd protests earlier this month in Buffalo was released from the hospital, said his lawyer.

Martin Gugino was seen on video being pushed by a riot control officer after they told him to get back as he approached a crowd of police during demonstrations. After he was pushed, the elderly man appeared to fall backwards before hitting his head.

“He can walk with a little help, and his condition will continue to improve with rest and time,” lawyer Kelly Zarcone said, adding that she “was able to see Martin today and he looks great.”

“Martin wants to thank the entire hospital staff for their exceptional dedication and professionalism,” Zarcone said. “He received truly outstanding care and for that, he is grateful.”

Officers Robert McCabe, 32, and Aaron Torgalski, 39, were suspended without pay after the incident before they were charged with assault. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Buffalo’s mayor, Byron Brown, said earlier this month that he found the video to be disturbing. “I don’t believe common sense was used” in Gugino’s case, Brown said.

“I immediately thought about: Is he gonna be okay?” he said of Gugino. “But then had to reach out very quickly to the management of the Buffalo Police Department to try to make sense of what I had seen.”

Brown said the two officers didn’t appear to try and intentionally harm Gugino.

Buffalo officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski
Suspended Buffalo police officer Robert McCabe (L) and Aaron Torgalski on June 6, 2020. (Erie County District Attorney’s Office via AP)

The protest situation was “moving very quickly,” Brown said at the time. “People in every single profession can make a mistake, and that mistake doesn’t mean that an intention to mislead is what occurred.”

Medics on the scene attended to Gugino “within seconds,” Brown said. Video footage showed that about 10 seconds after Gugino fell, officials attempted to tend to his injuries.

In a previous interview, the mayor noted that there were reports of violence, arson, looting, and vandalism in Buffalo in the wake of Floyd’s death.

Zarcone, meanwhile, told news outlets earlier this month Gugino suffered a brain injury in the fall.

“Martin said that he is pleased at the progress made so far to protect the safety of peaceful protesters, a topic near and dear to his heart,” Zarcone added in her statement. “He respects the burden of authority placed upon law enforcement but looks forward to the continued implementation of systemic changes to eliminate police brutality.”