Entire US police emergency team 'resigns' in protest after officers suspended over 'shove' video
6 June 2020, 10:42
An entire US police unit has resigned in protest after two officers who 'shoved' an elderly man to the ground were suspended.
Prosecutors investigated after a television crew captured an officer in Buffalo, New York shoving a 75-year-old man who then falls and cracks his head.
Two officers were suspended from duties and as a result a total of 57 officers reportedly resigned from the Emergency Response Team. They remain employed with the force.
Shocking footage shows a man who appears to try to hand back a helmet to officers. He is pushed aside and falls backwards, cracking his head on the pavement, a pool of blood under his head.
The video from WBFO of Thursday night's encounter, which happened near the conclusion of race protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, quickly sparked outrage.
Several officers walk past the injured man in the clip, which sparked outrage.
Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement that the man, who has not been publicly identified, was in serious condition.
A hospital official said he was "alert and oriented", Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted on Friday morning.
Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed the suspensions of the two officers, tweeting that what was seen on video was "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful".
The police commissioner suspended two police officers without pay, the mayor said.
The district attorney's office "continues to investigate the incident," officials said, but the victim could not talk to investigators Thursday night.
Buffalo police initially said in a statement that a person "was injured when he tripped & fell", WIVB-TV reported, but Captain Jeff Rinaldo later told the TV station an internal investigation was opened.
"When I saw the video, certainly, it was incredibly distressing and very disappointing. You don't want to see anything like that," Mr Brown told WIVB-TV on Friday.
The office of state attorney general Letitia James tweeted that officials there were aware of the video.
US Senator Charles Schumer called for an investigation.