It appears that the tide is turning on police misconduct and public leaders just blindly accepting the police narrative. This Saturday, the Erie County District Attorney John Flynn charged Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski with Assault in the Second Degree.This is just days after the assault, and after both officers had been suspended without pay.
Of course, McCabe and Torgalski have co-workers that apparently think that they did nothing wrong, as they resigned from the riot unit, but not the police force, in protest of the suspension of the two. UPDATE: It’s come out that the 57 members didn’t resign from the riot squad in support of McCabe and Torgalski, but because the union president sent an email that the union would no longer provide legal representation for incidents that occur due to an officer’s actions in the riot squad or the SWAT team. DA Flynn had a message for them, too, and it wasn’t conciliatory. Flynn told the other officers “to think about the oath they took when they were sworn in as police officers.”
The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association came out in support of the two officers as well, but this didn’t seem to affect the politicians. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that officers who crossed the line would be held accountable. The Mayor, Bryon Brown said that “This union has been on the wrong side of history for a very long period of time and they have been a real barrier to reform of policing in the city of Buffalo. . . .”
The Police Department initially said that Martin Gugino “tripped and fell” which is quite simply a lie. But everyone has a video camera in their phone nowadays, and the video came out rapidly. The incident happened on Thursday, the officers were suspended on Friday, and they were criminally charged on Saturday. That’s what needs to happen. What needs to happen next is to find out who reported that Gugino “tripped”, and an administrative investigation (at a minimum) needs to look at that. We cannot allow officers to lie on reports, especially about the use of force.
And then there’s the guys at PoliceOne.com, who think that the sky is falling. Comments are all over the place, like:
What bull shit. Hope these two sue and get paid.
Ol Martin was intentionally trying to impede the officers and got what he deserved.
Each one of those officers should take their riot control gear and hand it to their local politician starting with the prosecutor. When they do explain to that politician they are now responsible for controlling the crowds and walk away.
They don’t get it, they are used to being able to do what they want, but politicians are starting to look at what the people expect of them, as far as controlling the police. The public wants effective law enforcement, but they don’t want abuse.
Gugino, 75, was hospitalized, and remains in the hospital in serious condition.
See NY Penal Code, §120.05(12), “With intent to cause physical injury to a person who is sixty-five years of age or older, he or she causes such injury to such person, and the actor is more than ten years younger than such person. . . .” It’s a Class D felony, punishable by 2-7 years in prison.