The 75-year-old man who was seen on video being violently shoved to the ground by Buffalo police during a Thursday night protest has been identified as longtime peace activist Martin Gugino.
Graphic video of the incident showed law enforcement pushing Gugino down while clearing protesters away from City Hall, resulting in the man hitting his head and bleeding from his ear. “He’s a gentle person who really believes that he must stand up for what he thinks is right,” said friend Terrence Bisson, according to The Buffalo News, which additionally noted Gugino’s work in housing, anti-racism, and anti-nuclear activism.
Gugino is currently in the hospital in “serious but stable condition.” Shortly after the attack, Buffalo PD attempted to claim Gugino had “tripped and fell,” prompting immediate backlash. The department’s commissioner eventually suspended two officers who were involved while the city’s mayor issued a statement saying he was “deeply disturned” by the video. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, meanwhile, said the officer must not just be fired but also “held responsible for their actions.”