The video of cops in Buffalo shoving an elderly man so hard that his head smashed off the ground and blood started gushing from his right ear shocked people across the U.S.
But President Trump seems to think the 75-year-old demonstrator had it coming.
Tweeting Tuesday morning, the president pushed a baseless conspiracy theory—with absolutely no supporting evidence—that the scene could have been a “set up” orchestrated by far-left activists. He even went as far to suggest that Martin Gugino, who remains in a hospital after the incident, could be an “ANTIFA provocateur.”
Trump wrote on Twitter: “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”
The two officers involved in the incident have been charged with second-degree assault after they were filmed shunting Gugino to the ground. Aaron Torgalski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32, have both pleaded not guilty. They have been suspended without pay.
As of Monday afternoon, Gugino was still hospitalized in “serious but stable” condition, according to his attorney. His friends have described him as a longtime peace activist who has worked in anti-racism and anti-nuclear activism. “He’s a gentle person who really believes that he must stand up for what he thinks is right,” said Terrence Bisson, according to The Buffalo News.
Gugino’s lawyer, Kelly Zarcone, said in a statement to CNN that the conspiracy theory was baseless.
“No one from law enforcement has ever even suggested anything otherwise so we’re at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such a dark, dangerous and untrue accusation against him,” she said. “Martin has always been a peaceful protester because he cares about today’s society.”
In a Saturday press conference shortly after Torgalski and McCabe were arraigned, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn had to hose down another bizarre conspiracy theory that Gugino was rigged with some sort of fake blood dispenser. “He’s still in the hospital. He’s still in serious condition,” Flynn said.
All members of the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team resigned from the unit last week in support of the officers who were suspended for their aggression toward Gugino.