Jun 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Report: Staff of Buffalo Police riot response team resigns

Police shoving an elderly man.

Photo: Mike Desmond/WBFO via AP

All 57 officers on the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team resigned from the tactical unit in support of two colleagues who were suspended for their involvement in shoving a 75-year-old protester on Thursday, The Buffalo News reports.

Why it matters: It comes as videos of violent confrontations between law enforcement and demonstrators have surfaced across the U.S., and amid a crescendo of calls to reform policing to address systemic racism and violence.

The latest: "At this time, we can confirm that contingency plans are in place to maintain police services and ensure public safety within our community," Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement Friday.

  • The man seen in the video is in critical but stable condition, per The Buffalo News.

What they're saying: The union that represents the department's officers has also defended the riot response team, saying the officers were simply following orders. The union said it will pay for any legal fees for the two officers who were suspended.

  • "Our position is these officers were simply following orders from Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia to clear the square," said Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans.
  • "It doesn't specify clear the square of men, 50 and under or 15 to 40. They were simply doing their job. I don't know how much contact was made. He did slip in my estimation. He fell backwards."
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