A 75-year-old man who was knocked to the ground by Buffalo police in a protest last year and was bleeding on the ground is suing officers and other officials according to court records.
Martin Gugino suffered a fractured skull during the encounter on June 4th, which was recorded on video.
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the West District of New York, seeks economic damages as well as punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to punish them and deter others from similar conduct.”
A prosecutor brought charges against two Buffalo police officers, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, but a grand jury dismissed the charges earlier this month and the case was dismissed.
These two officers are named on the civil suit, as is a third who was not charged, along with the city, Police Commissioner and Mayor Byron Brown.
Email requests for comments to the mayor’s office and police were not immediately returned early Tuesday, but on Monday the city had no comment to NBC subsidiary WGRZ. A spokesman told the station that the management consultant would handle the case.
Gugino was pushed shortly after a curfew went into effect at 8 p.m.
The protest came after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck on May 25. Floyd’s death sparked protests across the country.
The complaint alleges that the police team “yelled in unison, pushed, pushed” after Gugino approached a line of police officers with batons and helmets.
It is alleged that another officer pushed McCabe and Torgalski in the direction of the activist and then they pushed him, causing him to fall and be seriously injured.
After the charges were denied earlier this month, the president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association defended the officers’ actions.
“Officials McCabe and Torgalski simply followed departmental procedures and their superiors’ instructions to evacuate Niagara Square even though they worked in extremely difficult circumstances,” union president John Evans said in a statement.
Gugino suffered a concussion and fractured skull and spent almost a month in the hospital.
Gugino has said that he believes the curfew was wrong.
The lawsuit alleges that Gugino’s right to peaceful assembly has been violated, that the use of force against him was illegal and unnecessary, and that the curfew was unconstitutional.