BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Two Buffalo police officers have been charged with felony assault after video allegedly showed them pushing a protester to the ground.
Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, who surrendered Saturday morning, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault. They were released without bail.
Torgalski and McCabe are due back in court Monday, July 20. If convicted, they face up to seven years in prison.
At a news conference Saturday, District Attorney John Flynn said the officers “crossed a line.”
Video taken Thursday shows police pushing 75-year-old Martin Gugino, who then falls and hits the back of his head on the pavement, causing him to bleed.
Gugino remains in critical condition, prosecutors said.
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“I think there was criminal liability from what I saw on the video,” Cuomo said. “I think what the mayor did and the district attorney did was right, and I applaud them for acting as quickly as they did.”
He added that swift justice was called for.
“There’s no tolerance for delaying justice in society anymore,” Cuomo said. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
The two officers were initially suspended, prompting dozens of Buffalo police officers to step down from a special unit in protest.
Fifty seven members of Buffalo’s Emergency Response Team quit the unit Friday, but didn’t resign from the department.
The police union says the suspended officers were just following orders.
Police initially claimed the man tripped.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)