Felony charges against BPD Officers in incident with protestor Martin Gugino have been dismissed by a Grand Jury

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– The Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says the felony assault charges against Buffalo Police Department Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe have been dismissed by Grand Jury. They were the officers seen in the video this summer pushing protestor Martin Gugino to the ground outside of Buffalo City Hall.

Flynn said after the grand jury decision came down he didn’t “sandbag it” so it would come to this conclusion. He called the incident “unfortunate” and said at the time he charged the officers because there was probable cause to do so.

While he doesn’t necessarily feel it rose to the level of felony assault, based on New York State law that is was the incident fell under.

“Still to this day I stand by the fact that charges should have been filed and there was probable cause at that time to charge that offense and I stand by that. I make no apologies for it and if I had to go back over it again I’d do the same thing.”

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn

These were the only charges filed against the two officers for that June 2020 incident. Gugino suffered from a concussion and spent time in the hospital.

Flynn says he provided all relevant information and evidence to the grand jury. He says he played it fair and balanced.

“The reality here is that no one is ever going to know, I’ll be honest the grand jury proceedings are secret, they’re sealed and no one is ever going to know what happened in that grand jury. So, you really only have my word that I didn’t sandbag anything. I put all relevant information and evidence into that grand jury and I presented it all to that grand jury and they made a decision.”

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn

President of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association John Evans provided the following statement regarding today’s announcement.

“The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association is extremely pleased with today’s decision by a grand jury to dismiss charges against Buffalo Police Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski.

As we have stated all along, Officers McCabe and Torgalski were simply following departmental procedures and the directives of their superiors to clear Niagara Square despite working under extremely challenging circumstances.

The Buffalo PBA remains in staunch support of Officers McCabe and Torgalski.”

John Evans, President, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association

We have reached out to Martin Gugino following today’s decision by the grand jury, we have not heard back at this time.

As for officers Torgalski and McCabe, Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo says they remain suspended with pay until the department’s internal affairs division completes its investigation.

Watch DA Flynn’s full press conference below:

News 4 Reporter Marlee Tuskes

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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