A grand jury has declined to indict two Buffalo cops caught on camera shoving a 75-year-old protester during a June 2020 anti-police brutality protest and leaving him in a pool of blood, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced Thursday. Aaron Torgalski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32, were each charged with assault in the second degree, a Class D felony, for shoving Martin Gugino, a longtime peace activist in the upstate New York city, during the June 4 protest in the wake of George Floyd’s police killing. A viral video showed Gugino falling down, blood pooling around his head after he hit the pavement. On June 30, Gugino was released from the hospital with a brain injury.
It was “society...[that] made that decision. I was fair. I was impartial. And I gave them everything,” Flynn insisted at a press conference announcing the grand jury’s decision. While the DA said the video “speaks for itself,” he explained the decision came down to justification—noting that the 75-year-old protester broke curfew to attend the riot and confronted police. “All that had to be done was turn him around and arrest him. I still stand by [that] he should not have been shoved. He should have been arrested. That didn’t happen,” he added.