The way the Buffalo Police Department tells it, 75-year-old Martin Gugino “was injured when he tripped and fell” during a June 4 protest. This statement was quickly contradicted when footage from a nearby journalist’s phone showed that Gugino fell after two police officers pushed him. The man’s head hit the ground with a sickening crack and blood poured out of his ear. Most of the officers then walked on by him. The video swiftly went viral.
In the past, the Buffalo police’s claim might have been taken at face value and echoed by the news media. But as multiple versions of the video spread across social media, outrage grew to a tipping point. Both officers were swiftly suspended without pay and charged with assault.