BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– One day after a grand jury dismissed felony assault charges against two officers, we’re hearing from Martin Gugino who was shoved to the ground during a protest last June.
“You shouldn’t injure people. You just arrest them. What’s the problem with arresting them that would’ve been normal.”Martin Gugino, Injured Protester
Martin Gugino says he doesn’t want to make the issue about him as much as it should be about whether protesters like him should’ve been allowed under first amendment rights to stay protesting in front of City Hall last June.
“I was standing up and going towards them because they had their batons out and I’ve seen that particular group before this I saw them at ICE protests in July and I’ve talked to them and they’re very nice people so I was quite surprised to end up unconscious in the hospital,” said Gugino.
Two Buffalo police officers are still suspended for now even after a grand jury cleared them a felony assault charges yesterday.
“I know both of these guys and they are great guys. It was terrible to see what they were put through.”John Evans, President, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association
Police union president John Evans says the emergency response team members were simply following orders from superiors to clear the square eight minutes after a curfew took affect.
“From the officers’ standpoint, clear the square means clear the square of all occupants,” Evans added.
The entire emergency response team disbanded after the charges were filed. So we asked the police union president what happens moving forward.
Evans tells us, “I mean I’ve heard that there is an interest in re-creating an ERT team, but from our standpoint, the city would have to agree to defend and indemnify these officers whoever is on that team, both criminally and civilly.”
George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.