Elderly protester pushed over by police in Buffalo and trolled by Trump has brain injury, says lawyer

Officers caught on video violently shoving Martin Gugino to the ground are now facing assault charges

Andrew Naughtie
Friday 12 June 2020 09:32
Martin Gugino's colleague describes his recovery

A 75-year-old protester pushed to the ground by two police officers in Buffalo, New York has reportedly suffered a brain injury.

According to his lawyer Kelly Zarcone, Martin Gugino, whose run-in with the officers was caught on a shocking video, is still in hospital and beginning what will be a slow recovery. She told the Associated Press that she has not yet been able to speak to him as he has been in an intensive care trauma unit.

“As heartbreaking as it is, his brain is injured and he is well aware of that now,” said Ms Zarcone. “He feels encouraged and uplifted by the outpouring of support which he has received from so many people all over the globe. It helps. He is looking forward to healing and determining what his ‘new normal’ might look like.”

Mr Gugino, a longtime local activist for peace and social justice causes, was pushed to the ground by the two officers at a protest over the death of George Floyd and police brutality directed at Black people.

In the video of the assault, he is pushed to the ground and left there, bleeding from the head as numerous police in riot gear continue walking past him. The two officers who pushed him have been charged with second-degree assault.

Donald Trump speculated in a tweet that the attack could have been staged by Mr Gugino, whom he said might be an “Antifa provocateur” who was “scanning police communications” and “fell harder than was pushed”. He seems to have picked up the theory from far-right news network OANN, which is known for its favourable coverage of Mr Trump.

Asked about people making allegations like his, Rahwa Ghirmatzion, the executive director of Mr Gugino’s advocacy group PUSH Buffalo, dismissed them and put them in the broader context of what’s happening on American streets today.

“I really do not comment on really absurd comments that make no sense, are not rooted in facts, especially at a time when the country is feeling so much pain and anger over 500 years of state-sanctioned violence, in particular towards indigenous, Black, and people of colour communities ...

“These comments are just deflections of the reality of what is happening, and I think also show us, in many ways, who are our leaders and who actually has the capacity to lead.”

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