Two Buffalo police officers suspended for 'pushing elderly man' who hit head on pavement
5 June 2020, 11:03 | Updated: 5 June 2020, 11:08
Two police officers have been suspended without pay after an elderly man was hospitalised when he was pushed to the ground.
In footage posted online, the 75 year old can be seen approaching officers and talking to them in Buffalo, New York, before being immediately shouted and pushed back by the two officers.
He then staggers back and falls, hitting his head on the pavement and causing it to start bleeding.
As he lies there motionless, one of the officers goes to bend down to check on him, but is motioned away by the other.
Dozens then march past him as bystanders shout at them to help.
The police department originally claimed he "tripped and fell" during the protests, but they suspended the officers and launched an investigation after the video emerged on social media.
Witnesses claim the man was speaking with police to try and return a riot helmet he had found.
The man, who has not been named publicly, is currently in a serious but stable condition in hospital, authorities said.
The incident happened shortly after the 8pm curfew came into force in the town, as the country continues to see widespread protests against the death of George Floyd.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the video was "disturbing".
"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," he said in a statement.
"The victim is in stable but serious condition at ECMC.
"After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight's event is disheartening."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described what happened as "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful", and said he agrees with the decision for the officers to be suspended pending an investigation.
He added: "Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law."