Buffalo, Indianapolis police under fire for use-of-force incidents with protesters

Buffalo, Indianapolis police under fire for use-of-force incidents with protesters

A video of a police officer appearing to shove an elderly protester who falls and cracks his head in Buffalo has drawn widespread condemnation.

Video from WFBO showed a Buffalo police officer appearing to push the 75-year-old man who walked up to police clearing Niagara Square around the 8 p.m. curfew Thursday. The man falls straight backward and hits his head on the pavement, with blood leaking out as several officers walk past without attending to him.

The video quickly went viral on social media, spurring outrage. Buffalo police initially said in a statement that a person “was injured when he tripped & fell,” WIVB-TV reported, but Capt. Jeff Rinaldo later told the TV station that an internal affairs investigation was opened.

The police commissioner subsequently suspended two police officers without pay, Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement.

Brown, who expressed he was “deeply disturbed” by the video, said the unidentified man, who is 75, was in “stable but serious” condition at a hospital.

“While it is early, thankfully he is expected to recover,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted shortly after midnight.

WATCH: Graphic content warning:

The man was at a protest that was nearing its end when he was pushed by police and hit his head on the sidewalk. Two police officers have been suspended.   0:35

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed the officers’ suspensions, tweeting that what was seen on video was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.” The office of State Attorney General Letitia James tweeted that they were aware of the video. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called for an investigation, according to a statement reported by WIVB-TV.

“The casual cruelty demonstrated by Buffalo police officers tonight is gut-wrenching and unacceptable,” said John Curr, the Buffalo chapter director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, in a statement, adding that it should be a “wake-up call” for city leaders to address police violence.

Calls and emails to Buffalo police from The Associated Press seeking comment Thursday night hadn’t been returned by Friday morning.

2 women shoved, struck in Indiana

In Indianapolis, a police department official said the agency is investigating the actions of several officers captured on video during a demonstration Sunday using batons and pepper balls to subdue two women.

The video, posted on Twitter and Facebook, shows a black woman, who was being held from behind by a white, male officer, escaping his grasp and then being surrounded by several other officers.

There are audible pops heard and the video shows several dust clouds, believed to be pepper balls, near the woman. It also shows two officers strike her with batons until she falls to the ground. The video also shows her being held face down against the pavement with a baton at the back of her neck.

A second woman, who is white, is seen and heard shouting, “Why her? Why her?” Another officer rushes the second woman, shoves her to the ground, where she is subdued by officers. The video does not show what led to the incident.

In announcing the investigation, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Grace Sibley declined to provide additional information.

Published at Fri, 05 Jun 2020 12:09:21 +0000