BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Two Buffalo police officers are under investigation after video shows them shove a 75-year-old man, who falls and hits his head on the pavement.
Mayor Byron Brown said the officers have also been suspended without pay.
“After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, Police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening,” the mayor tweeted.
— Byron W. Brown (@MayorByronBrown) June 5, 2020
The victim was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
Fifty-seven Buffalo officers withdrew from a volunteer tactical unit, but did not resign from the department, in protest of the two officers’ suspension.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted Thursday on Twitter, calling the incident “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.”
“Police officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law,” he added.
This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.
I've spoken with Buffalo @MayorByronBrown and we agree that the officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.
Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law. https://t.co/EYIbTlXnPt
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 5, 2020
The governor then played the video during his daily briefing Friday and said he spoke with the victim.
“You see that video and it disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity,” he said. “Why? Why? Why was that necessary? Where was the threat – an older gentleman – where was the threat? Then you just walk by the person when you see blood coming from his head? Police officers walked by. It’s just fundamentally offensive and frightening. It’s just frightening.”
“Who are we? How did we get to this place?”
Cuomo said the city “should pursue firing” the officers, and the district attorney should “look at the situation for possible criminal charges.”
Police officers cannot continue to hide behind the lie that they are protecting and serving.
— NYCLU (@NYCLU) June 5, 2020
The New York Civil Liberties Union also released as statement about the incident, reading in part, “The casual cruelty demonstrated by Buffalo police officers tonight is gut-wrenching and unacceptable. Suspensions and an investigation are already in order, but there is little more we have to see to know what took place.”
New York Attorney General Letisha James said that she is aware of the video.