Wednesday, our friend Martin Gugino was shoved so viciously by Buffalo police that he fell back and struck his head on the sidewalk. The crack is clearly heard on the video from WBFO. He was knocked unconscious and the video shows a stream of blood flowing from his wounds. Officers blithely marched past him, only one leaning to help the silver-haired 76-year old (and he was yanked away by another officer.)
Martin has supported Enough is Enough and those we’ve worked with, coming from Buffalo to attend meetings and court support for those who have experienced police brutality. Today we see his dedication to our efforts is matched by his work with other Rochester groups for climate justice, fair housing, and other causes. He is a long time peace activist in Buffalo, and active with many groups there. We’ve always appreciated his respectful participation, gentility, and sweet humor.
It was a shock, sickening, to see him so horribly harmed. We do not know yet how severe his injuries are, and one connection has asked that we not press until the family is ready to release information. Early reports are that he’s in serious but stable condition.
The two officers who shoved him so savagely have been suspended without pay. In support of their blue buddies, fifty-seven police officers have resigned from the force’s emergency response team. It will be all the better if they do not reassemble, in riot gear or otherwise.
We wish Martin swift recovery and add our voices to those demanding the officers be fired and charged.. In Martin’s words, ‘Protests are exempt from curfews because Congress (and mayors) may make no laws that abridge the right of the people peaceably to assemble and complain to the government. The government should receive the complaint with thanks, not arrest the people or beat them.”