Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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Man, 75, shoved to ground by Buffalo police during protest is released from hospital

Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old man who suffered a brain injury when he was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police officers during a protest in early June, was released from the hospital Tuesday, his lawyer said.

Gugino “looks great,” attorney Kelly V. Zarcone said in a statement after Gugino was released from Erie County Medical Center.

“He can walk with a little help, and his condition will continue to improve with rest and time,” Zarcone said.

She said that she brought him cards and letters following the June 4 incident, which was captured on video and resulted in criminal charges against two officers. Zarcone said Gugino will be recovering at a location she did not disclose in order to ensure his privacy.

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“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.”

Video from a protest in Buffalo held in the days after George Floyd’s in-custody death in Minneapolis captured Gugino approaching a large group of officers in tactical gear.

Gugino was pushed and fell backwards before lying motionless while bleeding, the video showed. Buffalo police initially said he tripped and fell, but video revealed the reality.

Officers Robert McCabe, 32, and Aaron Torgalski, 39, were suspended without pay soon after the incident. Days later, both were charged with second-degree assault. They have pleaded not guilty.

The city’s mayor called the incident deeply disturbing, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the officers’ actions.

The death of Floyd, who was Black, in Minneapolis sparked protests against racial inequality and calls fro police reform across the country. In the wake of his death, some police departments have announced changes in policies.

“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 said.

“He respects the burden of authority placed upon law enforcement but looks forward to the continued implementation of systemic changes to eliminate police brutality,” she said.

Image: Phil helselPhil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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