Two Buffalo police officers were charged with assault Saturday, prosecutors said, after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old protester in recent demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.
Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, who surrendered Saturday morning, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault. They were released without bail.
McCabe, 32, and Torgalski, 39, “crossed a line” when they shoved the man down hard enough for him to crack his head on the ground, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at a news conference, calling the victim “a harmless 75-year-old man.”
The officers had been suspended without pay Friday after a TV crew captured the confrontation the night before near the end of protests. If convicted of the felony assault charge, they face up to seven years in prison.
“I think there was criminal liability from what I saw on the video,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a briefing Saturday. “I think what the mayor did and the district attorney did was right, and I applaud them for acting as quickly as they did.”
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