All 57-member emergency response team of the second largest city in the U.S. State of New York, Buffalo, have resigned from the police after two members of the unit were suspended.
The officers of the Buffalo Police Department quit their jobs after two of their members were handed the punishment for pushing a 75-year-old activist, Martin Gugino to the ground during the George Floyd protests.
According to the Independent UK, their resignations were confirmed by the police union and two law enforcement agents that spoke to The Buffalo News.
Two members of the tactical unit, who were responding to the riots and controlling the crowd, were punished without pay on Thursday after a video clip surfaced online showing their activities during the emergency curfew. John Evans, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President defended the two officers saying that they were “simply doing their job” and that the man only “slipped” during the interaction.
The two officers appeared to be captured in the footage pushing the elderly man before he fell and hit his head on the sidewalk.
“Our position is these officers were simply following orders from Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia to clear the square,” Evans said.
“They were simply doing their job. I don’t Know how much contact was made. He did slip in my estimation. He fell backwards.”
The rest of the team were said to have resigned following the police union’s direction to members on Friday that it would no longer pay legal fees to defend officers from incidents stemming from the George Floyd’s protests.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, in a statement on Friday also confirmed the developments.
The 75-year-old activist was rushed to Erie County Medical Centre, where he was in a stable but remain serious condition.
During a press conference yesterday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told reporters that he was “utterly disgusted” by the officers’ decision to quit the tactical unit.