A 75-year-old protester who was hospitalized for nearly a month after police officers in Buffalo, New YorkLast year brought a civil action against the officers, the city and the mayor.
Martin Gugino is suing Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Cops Robert McCabe, Aaron Torgalski, John Losi, Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood and Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, according to court documents filed Monday in the Western District of New York.
A viral video showed Constables McCabe and Torgalski pushing Gugino at the end of a protest in Niagara Square on June 4, minutes from a citywide curfew. The footage shows Gugino stumbling back and banging his head to the ground. He suffered a concussion and fractured skull and spent nearly four weeks at Erie County Medical Center.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants violated Gugino’s constitutional rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, a petition to the government for redress of grievances, unreasonable movements, seizures and freedom from the illegal use of the force by government agents, as well as for due process of law.
The lawsuit calls for a jury trial and seeks punitive damages to be awarded to the defendants.
“The defendants’ actions were recklessly indifferent to the plaintiff’s civil rights, and cruelly disregarded his age, safety and health, especially in light of the known risks to the health and safety of an elderly plaintiff who was pressured into sol, “says the trial.
The prosecution argues that the curfew was unconstitutional and that Gugino had a “legitimate reason to be in Niagara Square”. The lawsuit said Gugino was there to “peacefully exercise his constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment right to assemble and speak in public places. Therefore, the claimant, Martin Gugino, was exempt from the curfew at the time of he was assaulted by Buffalo police officers. “
One of his lawyers, Melissa Wischerath, said in a statement Monday that “you don’t have freedom of speech unless you have the freedom to protest.”
“By assaulting Martin Gugino while peacefully demonstrating in Niagara Square, the city and BPD attacked Martin Gugino’s most basic rights as an American. If a person’s rights are taken away by the state, it is harms us all by eroding the foundations of our constitution, “she said.
The costume comes like a grand juryMcCabe and Torgalski on criminal assault charges earlier this month. McCabe and Torgalski were suspended without pay and arrested days after the outbreak. They pleaded not guilty and were released without bail pending further developments.