Buffalo, New York's entire police emergency response team has resigned, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association said Friday.
Video recorded by local NPR affiliate WBFO went viral on Thursday night showing Buffalo Police Emergency Response team members pushing over an older man who had walked up to them, causing him to fall and start bleeding from his head. Two officers involved in the case were suspended without pay Thursday night, and on Friday, "57 resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members," Buffalo PBA president John Evans told the Investigative Post.
The officers who stepped down are still on the Buffalo police force, but have left the special emergency response team, The Buffalo News reports. Evans told The Buffalo News the officers were "simply following orders from Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia to clear the square," adding that "it doesn't specify clear the square of men, 50 and under or 15 to 40." Evans also repeated the Buffalo Police Department's assessment that the man "slipped" and "fell backwards."
The man was later revealed to be 75-year-old Martin Gugino, a longtime peace activist from the area. The video appears to show Gugino holding an officers' helmet as he walks up and tries to talk to officers. One officer then comes up and shoves him, causing him to fall backward. The officer who shoved Gugino also seems to stop another officer from tending to the man.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown quickly suspended the officers, and Erie County's district attorney launched a probe of the incident. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has also called for a state investigation into the matter to find "possible criminal charges."