Feb 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Grand jury declines to charge Buffalo officers seen shoving protester

Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski pushing activist Martin Gugino in spring 2020.
Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski pushing activist Martin Gugino in Buffalo in spring 2020. Photo: Mike Desmond/WBFO via AP

A grand jury declined to indict Buffalo police officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski on felony assault charges for shoving 75-year-old Martin Gugino during a Black Lives Matter protest after the killing of George Floyd in June 2020, AP reports.

Why it matters: Gugino spent around a month in the hospital with a fractured skull and brain injury after the incident. A video of the event drew national attention as thousands of people across the U.S. and around the world held protests against police brutality.

Context: Buffalo officers, including McCabe and Torgalski, were attempting to clear the protest in the area for an evening curfew.

What they're saying: Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told the AP that he did not believe the altercation rose to the level of a felony and that the video was the primary evidence in the investigation.

  • “This was not the J.F.K. assassination,” Flynn said, according to AP. “This was not that complex of a case. The video that was taken speaks for itself.”

Of note: State law requires prosecutors to bring charges when a victim is at least 65 and suspected perpetrators are at least 10 years younger.

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