Charges dropped against officers seen shoving Buffalo protester

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Charges against the officers seen pushing protestor Martin Gugino to the ground outside of Buffalo City Hall this summer have been dropped.

Gugino suffered a concussion and spent time in the hospital.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said Thursday that a grand jury dismissed the felony assault charges against Buffalo Police Department officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe.

Flynn said after the grand jury decision came down, he didn’t “sandbag it” so it would come to this conclusion. He called the incident “unfortunate” and said at the time that he charged the officers because there was probable cause to do so. Flynn said he provided all relevant information and evidence to the grand jury.

While he doesn’t necessarily feel it rose to the level of felony assault, that is was the incident fell under based on New York State law.

“Still to this day, I stand by the fact that charges should have been filed and there was probable cause at that time to charge that offense, and I stand by that,” said Flynn. “I make no apologies for it, and if I had to go back over it again, I’d do the same thing.”

They were the only charges filed against the two officers for the June 2020 incident. Gugino has not yet responded to the grand jury decision.

John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, provided the following statement regarding the announcement.

“The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association is extremely pleased with today’s decision by a grand jury to dismiss charges against Buffalo Police Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski.

As we have stated all along, Officers McCabe and Torgalski were simply following departmental procedures and the directives of their superiors to clear Niagara Square despite working under extremely challenging circumstances.

The Buffalo PBA remains in staunch support of Officers McCabe and Torgalski.”

John Evans, President, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association

Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said Torgalski and McCabe remain suspended with pay until the department’s internal affairs division completes its investigation.

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