Elderly Buffalo Protester Has Fractured Skull, Cannot Walk: Attorney

June 17, 2020 Updated: June 17, 2020

The 75-year-old protester who was pushed by an officer during a demonstration in Buffalo, New York, is not able to walk, according to his attorney.

“I am not at liberty to elaborate at this time other than to confirm that his skull was fractured. While he is not able to walk yet, we were able to have a short conversation before he became too tired. He is appreciative of all of the concern about him but he is still focused on the issues rather than himself,” Martin Gugino’s attorney, Kelly Zarcone, told CNN in a statement.

The attorney previously said that Gugino suffered a fractured skull after the incident.

Video footage showed riot police shouting at him to get back before one of them pushed Gugino. He then appeared to stumble backwards, hitting his head as he fell. About 10 seconds later, medics are seen tending to him amid chaos and yelling.

Zarcone also released a statement from Gugino, who is a longtime activist, in saying that “I think it’s very unnecessary to focus on me. There are plenty of other things to think about besides me.”

“Barring something unusual and unforeseen, I don’t expect much change at all this week” in Gugino’s condition, the attorney remarked.

The two officers involved in the fracas were suspended after the video went viral on social media. They have been since charged with second-degree assault.

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)

Mayor Byron Brown told CBS News on Sunday that law enforcement officers are trained to use common sense while on duty, but he said that the two officers erred.

“I don’t believe common sense was used” in Gugino’s case, he said.

“I immediately thought about: Is he gonna be okay?” Brown asked when he saw the footage. “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.”

In the interview, the mayor said he believes the two officers weren’t deliberately trying to harm Gugino.

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

But Brown previously told news outlets that Gugino was told by police to leave the area several times, and he noted that there was a curfew in effect.

“One of the things that happened before was conflict among protesters and there was a danger of fights breaking out, and police felt it was important to clear that scene for the safety of protesters,” said Brown.

After he fell, medics attended to Gugino “within seconds,” Brown remarked. “We saw violence, we saw vandalism, we saw fires being set, we saw looting, we saw rioting,” he said. “And I imposed a curfew for eight o’clock to prevent that kind of violence and danger to our community.”