BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Buffalo Police officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were charged with second-degree assault this morning during a virtual arraignment.
The two officers were suspended after video surfaced of them shoving 75-year-old Martin Gugino Thursday night, during a demonstration in front of Buffalo City Hall. The incident happened just after a city-wide curfew began, and police moved in to clear the scene.
“You take him away and arrest him,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “Simple as that. You don’t take a baton and shove him along with the officer next to him using his right hand, shoving him.”
Both officers pleaded not guilty to the charge and were released on their own recognizance.
They are set to reappear on July 20 for a felony hearing.
McCabe and Torgalski remain suspended without pay.
Cheers erupted in the crowd as suspended officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski left the Erie County District Attorney’s Office after being arraigned:
Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw released a statement Saturday morning in response to the incident and in support of Buffalo Police:
“In times like these, we need level headed, strong leaders who believe in the rule of law. I stand strong behind these Buffalo Police officers and all members of law enforcement. Cops are under attack from agitating, extremist radicals that crave anarchy and chaos. Enough is enough. It’s time for us to take back our neighborhoods. It’s time to take back our way of life and our great nation. Law abiding taxpayers are afraid. Our children are scared. This lawlessness must end. We can no longer sit back and let rioters attack police and destroy businesses. This must end. Now. I refuse to backdown. I refuse to let the shining city on a hill that brought my immigrant parents across an ocean come under attack from within. Weak, cowardly politicians that stay quiet when radicals pursue political prosecutions of the police trying to protect us should be ashamed and need to get out of the way. To all police officers: we stand with you. We have your back.”
Erie County Comptroller
Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood released this statement Saturday afternoon:
“Today the Erie County District Attorney’s office made the decision to charge two
City of Buffalo police officers in connection with an incident that occurred Thursday
night in Niagara Square. The officers remain suspended without pay following my
order for an immediate internal investigation into the incident. These last few weeks
have obviously been a very challenging time not only for our city and community,
but for our entire nation, as we grapple with some very critical issues.
My officers have been through, and continue to work through, one of the most
difficult times in our history. I stand by the men and women of the Buffalo Police
Department and I’m proud of how they have handled the vast majority of the
situations and encounters that they have faced. I hope and pray that we can all
work and grow together as we move forward in the City of Buffalo.”
This was the scene in front of Buffalo City Hall this morning: