Two Buffalo police officers, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, were both charged with one count of second-degree assault Saturday, prosecutors said, after they were seen on video Thursday shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground during a protest against police brutality. The officers have pleaded not guilty and were released without bail, The Associated Press reports.
The video sparked outrage across the country, and criticism intensified when the Buffalo Police Department said the protester, Martin Gugino, tripped and fell. Gugino, described as a longtime peace activist, was hospitalized with a head injury resulting from the fall. He is now in "serious, but stable condition" and is "progressing in his recovery."
McCabe and Torgalski were suspended without pay Friday, prompting all 57 of their colleagues on the Buffalo Police Department's emergency response team to resign from the unit — but not the police force altogether — in their defense.
The charges are the latest examples of swift action being taken against police officers in the wake of George Floyd's death. In Minneapolis, the officer who pressed his knee against Floyd's neck has been fired and charged with second-degree murder, while three other ex-officers who watched the scene unfold and did not intervene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. And two officers in Atlanta were fired this week after footage captured them using excessive force against two African-American college students who were out after a citywide curfew. Read more at The Associated Press and NPR.