Police officers suspended for violently pushing elderly man to the ground after initially saying he 'tripped'

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Friday 05 June 2020 09:30
news
(WBFO)

Since 26 May, distressing videos depicting police violence towards Black Lives Matter protesters have flooded the internet.

Not many of these have resulted in action being taken against the offending officers.

But yesterday, a video was posted by a Buffalo radio station, WBFO, that showed a line of police, dressed in riot gear, shoving an elderly man to the ground.

The video can be seen here. Warning: the footage is graphic and distressing.

In the clip, the unidentified man approaches the assembled police and says something inaudible.

Officers yell at him to move back before advancing. One reaches out and pushes the man suddenly, who flails and then falls backwards, smacking his head.

Seconds later, a pool of blood forms and someone off camera shouts “He’s bleeding out of his ear!” as the man lies prone on the floor.

Police then begin arresting protesters while a WBFO calls for an ambulance. The footage then ends.

Immediately following the protest, police claimed the man – who was confirmed to be 75 years-old and is in a “stable but serious” condition in hospital – “tripped and fell”.

Today it was announced that two Buffalo police officers have been suspended without pay over the incident and a full internal investigation has launched.

In a statement, Buffalo mayor Byron Brown said the encounter was “disheartening”.

“I was deeply disturbed by the video,” said Brown.

“After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening.”

New York governor Andrew Cumo called the officers’ actions “disgraceful” in a tweet.

While this development has been welcomed, it once again begs the question: what would we know if the cameras hadn’t been there?

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