Two Buffalo police officers were suspended without pay Thursday night after they pushed a 75-year-old man to the ground, causing him to bleed from his head, during a protest in front of the town’s City Hall, Buffalo’s mayor said in a statement.
“Tonight, after a physical altercation between two separate groups of protesters participating in an illegal demonstration beyond curfew, two Buffalo Police officers knocked down a 75-year-old man,” Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement posted on Twitter.
In a widely circulated video posted by WBFO, a local radio station, the man walks toward the officers and begins to speak to them when they shout at the man to move back. Two officers are seen pushing him, causing the man to fall backwards.
An audible noise is heard when the man hits the pavement, and a pool of blood forms under his head.
Some can be heard saying “He’s bleeding out of his ear!” and “Get a medic!”
The officers keep walking, leaving the man on the ground.
Warning: this video contains content some viewers may find disturbing.
The man is in serious but stable condition at Erie County Medical Center, the statement from Brown said, and Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood initiated an investigation into the incident.
“After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, Police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening,” the statement continued.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the “incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted that her office was aware of the video.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said on Twitter the video “sickens" him.
I've spoken to @MayorByronBrown who confirmed it was members of the Buffalo Police Dept. involved in today's incident with the protester who was pushed and hit his head. He indicated actions are being taken against two officers by BPD, which actions will be announced soon. https://t.co/HLINAXSZcd— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) June 5, 2020
The Buffalo News reported the incident came hours after a standoff between police and protesters ended peacefully in Niagara Square.
Protests against police brutality have swept the nation over the past two weeks since George Floyd, a Black man, was killed when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.