Who is Aaron Torgalski? Buffalo PD Officer
Aaron Torgalski is a police officer at Buffalo Police Department. He is in the headlines after being identified as the officer who pushed a 75-year-old man to the ground in Niagara Square, Buffalo on June 4th while enforcing the 8 p.m. curfew. The man who has since been identified as Martin Guginodown feel down causing a bleeding head wound. The police initially claimed that the man “tripped” and was injured.
Torgalski and one of his Buffalo PD colleague also seen on the video were suspended. A day later, on June 5th, the entire Emergency Response Team at the Buffalo Police Department has resigned in a show of solidarity for the cops suspended for shoving an elderly man to the ground. A total of about 57 officers walked off the job Friday, though they are still employed with the police department, just no longer on the ERT.
The Incident was Captured on Video Caution: there is some vulgar language in the video
Shortly after Buffalo’s curfew went into effect “City police and State Police swept through the area of Niagara Square directly in front of City Hall to clear the area where a protest was finishing,” WBFO reported. The station said the man was unidentified but he was 75 years old. He was “shoved by two officers in the line.”
NEW: We're learning more about the man seen on the video. He's 75 years old and a longtime activist, known to many in the Buffalo community.
For his privacy, I will not be releasing his name or other identifying information.
— Ali Ingersoll (@Ali_IngNews) June 5, 2020
A twitter user, Yashar posted the video of the unfortunate event on Twitter. The video shows one close up angle of the incident. In the caption, he wrote, “This is so difficult to watch but I urge you to if you can. An elderly man pushed over by Buffalo PD…he’s bleeding. An officer leans down and is told to move on by another officer. Then the Buffalo PD tells the media that the man tripped…which is a clear lie”
This is so difficult to watch but I urge you to if you can.
An elderly man pushed over by Buffalo PD…he's bleeding.
An officer leans down and is told to move on by another officer.
Then the Buffalo PD tells the media that the man tripped…which is a clear lie
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 5, 2020
Another Angle of the incident was captured by Photojournalist Anthony Nelson. One user posted Current situation in #Buffalo as police work to enforce the 8 p.m. curfew in Niagara Square. Caution: there is some vulgar language in the video.”
Current situation in #Buffalo as police work to enforce the 8 p.m. curfew in Niagara Square. Caution: there is some vulgar language in the video. Tune to @SPECNewsBuffalo for the latest. Video Courtesy: Photojournalist Anthony Nelson pic.twitter.com/nP4AXgQGeR
— Katie Gibas (@KatieGibasTV) June 5, 2020
The elderly man was taken to the hospital but his condition or extent of his head injuries remains unclear. Torgalsk and another officer have been suspended without pay.
A spokesperson for Buffalo PD said the Elderly Man Tripped
Buffalo police say today’s protest activity in Niagara Square has ended. Police say four people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges for blocking traffic in the Square. Police say a 5th person was arrested during a skirmish with other protestors and also charged with disorderly conduct.
During that skirmish involving protestors, one person was injured when he tripped & fell. A reminder the city curfew remains in effect from 8 pm-5 am through & including Sunday, May 31st.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Buffalo’s mayor Statements
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Buffalo’s mayor, both released statements about the incident.
“This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful,” Cuomo wrote. “I’ve spoken with Buffalo @MayorByronBrown and we agree that the officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation. Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law.”
The mayor, Byron W. Brown, released a statement:
Tonight, after a physical altercation between two separate groups of protesters participating in an illegal demonstration beyond the curfew, two Buffalo police officers knocked down a 75 year old man. The victim is in stable but serious condition at ECMC. I was deeply disturbed by the video, as was Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood. He directed an immediate investigation into the matter and the two officers have been suspended without pay. After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, Police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening. I hope to continue to build on the progress we have achieved as we work together to address racial injustice and inequity in the City of Buffalo. My thoughts are with the victim tonight.
— Byron W. Brown (@MayorByronBrown) June 5, 2020
Aaron Torgalski Background
Aaron Torgalski was among the 19 new recruits sworn in by Mayor Byron Brown and Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda in an afternoon ceremony on a Friday, August 1st, 2014. The recruits undertook a six-month training program at the Police Academy and graduated in January 2015.
The Buffalo PD officer has already deleted his LinkedIn profile. He describes himself as a Police Officer at the Buffalo Police Department.