Following the suspension of two police officers for shoving a 75-year-old man who then fell and cracked his head, the entire 57-member emergency response team of the Buffalo Police Department has resigned.
The resignations were confirmed by the police union and two law enforcement that spoke to The Buffalo News, reported Independent.
The unit’s resignation is a symbol of “support for the suspended officers, as well as the disgust with the admin”, Spectrum News said.
On Friday, a television crew captured the now-suspended police officer pushing a 75-year-old man who approached a line of officers clearing demonstrators from Niagara Square around the time of an 8 p.m. curfew.
The man falls backward and hits his head on the pavement. Blood leaks out as officers walk past during the conclusion of race protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
However, John Evans, President, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association said the officers were “simply doing their job” and the man “slipped” during the interaction.
“Our position is these officers were simply following orders from Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia to clear the square,” Evans told The Buffalo News.
“It doesn’t specify clear the square of men, 50 and under or 15 to 40. They were simply doing their job. I don’t know how much contact was made. He did slip in my estimation. He fell backwards.”
After the video of the incident went viral and garnered outrage, including among elected officials it was reported that the police commissioner suspended two police officers without pay.
The case is under investigation but no charges have yet been filed and the police union is ready to pay for any defence costs of the two accused officers.
“We stand behind those officers 100 per cent,” John Evans said.