June 6 (UPI) — Two Buffalo, N.Y., police officers pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault Saturday, two days after they were captured on film appearing to shove a 75-year-old man who fell and was hospitalized.
Robert McCabe, 32, and Aaron Torglaski, 39, were virtually arraigned and released on their own recognizance.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood suspended the two officers without pay Thursday after a video by WBFO showed the altercation.
In the video, the officers can be seen shoving Martin Gugino, 75, as he speaks to them during a protest in front of Buffalo City Hall. He was involved in demonstrations — after the start of curfew — against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and police brutality.
After he was shoved, Gugino falls to the ground, hitting his head. He can be seen lying on the ground, bleeding from his ear as members of the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team walked past him.
Martin was hospitalized and in serious but stable condition. His attorney said he was “alert and oriented.”
All 57 members of the team resigned their positions — but not from the police department — on Friday in solidarity with the two officers.
A crowd of supporters, including fellow police officers and firefighters, gathered outside Buffalo City Court during McCabe and Torglaski’s arraignment Saturday morning. They’re next scheduled to appear in court July 20.
If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.