Two Buffalo police officers have been suspended without pay following an incident in which a 75-year-old man was pushed to the ground Thursday evening amid continued protests over the killing of George Floyd.
In video footage taken by local NPR affiliate WBFO, an elderly man can be seen walking towards a line of police officers in riot gear. After he approaches the officers, it appears that he is pushed backwards. A loud thud can be heard when he falls, and blood can be seen coming out from under his head.
The footage circulated widely on social media and quickly prompted outcry as police behavior nationwide comes under intense scrutiny.
“This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted. “Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law.”
The victim, a 75-year-old man, was transported to the hospital where his is in “stable but serious” condition, according to Buffalo mayor Byron W. Brown. He added that “two Buffalo police officer knocked down” the man following illegal protests that went past Buffalo’s curfew.
Initially, a Buffalo Police spokesman had claimed in a statement that a man was injured “when he tripped and fell,” according to local radio station WBFO. The radio station said it posted video of the incident to Twitter in response.
Officials then said an investigation was underway.
“I was deeply disturbed by the video, as was Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood,” Brown said in his Twitter post. The mayor confirmed that two officers involved have 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,” Brown, the mayor, said. “I hope to continue to build on the progress we have achieved as we work together to address racial injustice and inequity in the City of Buffalo. My thoughts are with the victim tonight.”