Two Buffalo police officers have been suspended after an "utterly disgraceful" video surfaced showing officers shoving and knocking a 75-year-old man to the ground, then walking around him as he was bleeding.
The man had been protesting outside Niagara Square Thursday night when he can be seen in the video — which was obtained and posted on Twitter by local radio station WBFO — approaching a large group of police officers and saying something. The officers yell for him to move back before two of the officers shove him and send him hurdling backward to the ground, the video showed.
In the graphic video, the man begins profusely bleeding from his head shortly after being shoved to the ground — apparently hitting his head on the pavement.
Police initially claimed that the man had tripped and fallen, until the video surfaced that showed an officer pushing the man, according to local station WGRZ.
Buffalo Police have now said two officers involved in the incident have been suspended. They have not been identified.
“The Buffalo Police Commissioner has immediately suspended two police officers tonight who were seen on video pushing an elderly man to the ground,” it said in a statement. “An internal affairs investigation is currently underway into the incident.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful” in a statement on Twitter Thursday night.
“Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law,” Cuomo wrote.
Buffalo Mayor Bryon Brown also condemned the officer’s actions, writing in a statement that he was “deeply disturbed” by the video.
“After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, Police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening,” he said. “I hope to continue to build on the progress we have achieved as we work together to address racial injustice and inequity in the city of Buffalo. My thoughts are with the victim tonight.”
Protests have ignited across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who was allegedly murdered in police custody by a white officer. Outrage exploded after video emerged showing officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.
Chauvin is now facing charges of second-degree murder in Floyd's death, and three other officers who were present for Floyd's arrest are now facing charges of aiding and abetting murder, according to the Associated Press. All officers involved in Floyd's killing have been fired.
Brown said the 75-year-old man in Buffalo, who has not been identified, is in “stable but serious condition” at a local hospital after the incident.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a statement Friday morning that his office is investigating the incident.
The man — who had suffered a head injury — was not able to provide investigators with a statement on Thursday evening but Flynn said his office will continue to investigate.
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