Two suspended Buffalo, New York, police officers have pleaded not guilty to assaulting a 75-year-old man during a protest against racism and police brutality.
Both police officers, Aaron Torgalski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32 were charged with one count of assault in the second degree and have been released on their own recognizance without bail.
They were arraigned via video conference on Saturday morning before Buffalo City Court Judge Hannah. They are both scheduled to return to court on July 20 for a felony hearing.
The footage, showed the elderly man walking up to uniformed officers in Buffalo’s Niagara Square during a demonstration against police brutality and over George Floyd’s death. The officers, who had begun enforcing curfew, yell what sounds like “move!” and “push him back!” One officer can be seen pushing the man with an outstretched arm, while another shoves a baton into him. A third officer appears to shove colleagues toward the man.
The man falls to the ground. His head whips backward onto the pavement with a thud, and then he lies motionless.
“He’s bleeding out of his ear!” someone yells, as blood pools beneath the man’s head.
The officers then keep walking, leaving the man on the ground.
The man was transported to the hospital, where he is in “stable but serious condition,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. Buffalo police spokesman Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said he believes the man’s injuries include a laceration and “possible concussion,” while Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said it was a “serious head injury.”