D.A. Flynn: “There are no sides here that I’m choosing”

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–“Whenever you have different entities, you’re always going to have individuals who crossed the line in any aspect of society and it’s these individuals who crossed the line that we have to address.”

Words from Erie County District Attorney John Flynn Saturday and he says he did just that by charging Buffalo Police Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe with felony second-degree assault.

“There may be some who say that I’m choosing sides here by arresting and prosecuting these police officers. I say that’s ridiculous. I’m not choosing sides. I’m prosecuting 39 protesters. There are no sides here that I’m choosing,” Flynn said.

This isn’t the first time Flynn has charged members of law enforcement during his tenure as district attorney. During the past three years, Flynn says he’s prosecuted six police officers for criminal violations.

“I’ve been doing this since day one of my administration. I charged a deputy sheriff almost two years ago for assault on a fan at a Bills game.”

That now-former Deputy Sheriff, Kenneth Achtyl, was found guilty of reckless assault a misdemeanor after he broke a man’s nose during a Buffalo Bills game in 2017. Flynn says this case involving Torgalski and McCabe is similar, but because the victim, Martin Gugino, is older than 65 and the officers are more than 10 years his junior, it’s upgraded to a felony.

“It’s the same charge, it’s the same legal principle, it’s the same analogy. I’ve done nothing different than I did in Achtyl and I need to be consistent.”

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Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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