By Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) – Two Buffalo, New York, police officers were suspended without pay on Thursday after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, as protests over the police killing of George Floyd continued into their tenth night.
The video taken by a reporter from local public radio station WBFO and posted on its website and Twitter account shows the white-haired man approaching a line of officers in riot gear. One officer pushes him with a baton and a second one with his hand. The sound of a crack is heard and then blood trickles from the man’s head. The man, who is white, is not identified.
“I was deeply disturbed by the video,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement. “After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening.”
The incident drew widespread condemnation on social media as protesters returned to the streets of several U.S. cities to demonstrate against police brutality.
Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after former police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
The video in Buffalo shows the majority of the officers march past after the man falls, though the officer who pushed him with a baton starts to lean over him before he is motioned away by another officer. Someone is heard calling for a medic.
The radio station reported that two medics came forward and helped the man into an ambulance. Police later said that a man was injured after tripping and falling, the radio station said.
But after viewing the video, Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood ordered an investigation and suspended the two officers, Brown said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter that he spoke with Mayor Brown and agreed that the officers involved should be suspended, pending a formal investigation.
He wrote,”Police Officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law.”
The 75-year-old victim was in stable but serious condition at Erie County Medical Center Hospital in Buffalo, Brown said.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)