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An altercation between two Buffalo cops and a 75-year-old protester has gone viral because of video footage that shows the protester falling to the ground and then bleeding out of his right ear after being pushed by the officers.
Critics say the officers were “violent” in the way that they shoved the man — and that their alleged “violence” was to blame for him crashing to the ground and bleeding.
But others allege that the officers only gently “pushed” the man — and that him falling to the ground was the result of him tripping and losing his balance.
Watch the footage for yourself below (Warning for content some may find disturbing):
“Shortly after Buffalo’s curfew started Thursday evening, city police and State Police swept through the area of Niagara Square directly in front of City Hall to clear the area where a protest was finishing,” Buffalo NPR member station WBFO reported.
“An unidentified, 75-year-old man was shoved by two officers in the line. The man lost his balance and fell to the pavement, audibly hitting his head with blood running out from under his head. Two medics came forward and treated him. They helped put him in an ambulance and he was taken away.”
As of Thursday evening, the man was in serious but stable condition.
The Buffalo Police Department initially downplayed the incident by claiming that “one person was injured when he tripped & fell.”
— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) June 5, 2020
But after the footage above began spreading, the department came under heavy fire from critics outraged by BPD’s rewrite of history.
Look (*Graphic language warning):
BUFFALO PD YOU ARE DESPICABLE
— Grace Lynn Kung (@gracelynnkung) June 5, 2020
Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you
— Sophia Benoit (@1followernodad) June 5, 2020
Yup he tripped alright , right after he was pushed. Sounds like the old – I didn’t stab him, he ran into my knife….5 times.
— Stuart D. Meissner (@StuartMeissner) June 5, 2020
@BPDAlerts the world is watching and the TWO officers who did this need to be fired immediately, without question.
— ALIX WILTON REGAN (Home Studio) (@AlixWiltonRegan) June 5, 2020
U FKN Liars. That man WAS shoved He did NOT trip and fall
ALL of u need to be in prison..
There is a movement.
Judgement Day IS here
ALL cops WILL PAY for years of abuse.
— Elainea Buckland (@Dr_Buckland0872) June 5, 2020
@BPDAlerts are liars! Your officers PUSHED AN ELDERLY MAN AND LEFT HIM BLEEDING ON THE GROUND. YOU ARE DISGUSTING ANIMALS.
— chelsey louise simner (@chelseylousc) June 5, 2020
u are a bunch of cowardly liars! pushing over a 75 year old then lying about it saying he “tripped and fell”. Im a white guy and a black belt in karate, I will HAPPILY take on any of u cowards one on one no weapons, so let me know if any of u have the balls, I know u dont,cowards
— Paul (@Paul14209148) June 5, 2020
The backlash eventually prompted BPD to reverse course, suspend the two officers seen in the video up top and launch an internal affairs investigation.
Soon after, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown all issued statements on the matter, with the governor decrying the incident as “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.”
This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.
I’ve spoken with Buffalo @MayorByronBrown and we agree that the officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.
Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law. https://t.co/EYIbTlXnPt
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 5, 2020
We are aware of this video. Thank you.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) June 5, 2020
— Byron W. Brown (@MayorByronBrown) June 5, 2020
By Friday morning, Internet sleuths had identified one of the officers involved as Aaron Torgalski and begun calling for his immediate termination.
“There have been huge calls for Torgalski and the second officer to be fired from their jobs for pushing the elderly man, including from celebrities such as comedian Jim Gaffigan and singer Kacey Musgraves,” Newsweek reported. “An online petition urging the officer be fired has since attracted more than 100,000 signatures.”
“Torgalski was clearly abusing his power as a police officer for NO REASON,” the petition reportedly reads. “The push was strong enough to make the old man fall backwards and crack his head and start bleeding.”
“Aaron Torgalski should not be in control of our safety! This man does not deserve a badge! This man should not be allowed to hold a gun and carry out the law. Torgalski is reported to have been earning an annual salary of more than $80,000 at the department.”
— spicy rico (@rico662607) June 5, 2020
Ladies and gentleman… we got him pic.twitter.com/OjufdGPgsD
— spicy rico (@rico662607) June 5, 2020
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