In the disturbing clip, which was taken by the local radio station WBFO, the protester approaches a group of police officers to talk to them, and appears to be holding an officer's helmet. When one officer is heard repeatedly telling his colleagues to "push him back," another officer shoves the man to the ground. The man might have hit his head on the concrete, but this is out of frame in the video. He is later seen lying on the ground, bleeding out of his ear. The officers call for medical assistance, though several of them are seen walking past the man lying on the ground.
The New York Timesis reporting that the protester is in serious condition. After the release of the video, the Buffalo Police Department claimed the man "tripped and fell" but later suspended two of the officers who were allegedly involved in the incident without pay, according to the Times,.
Meanwhile, the video has sparked outrage on social media.
"**Warning** This is highly disturbing, unacceptable, and needs explaining @BPDAlerts An elderly man AND NOBODY HELPS HIM!? What the f**k," she wrote.
The "Golden Hour" singer then added, "I just called Buffalo Police Dept. @BPDAlerts to demand the firing of Officer Aaron Torgalski (the one who seriously hurt the elderly man & wouldn’t help him) They told me to call Buffalo Police HQ about it instead. In case anyone feels as sickened as I do: (716) 851-4444."
I just called Buffalo Police Dept. @BPDAlerts to demand the firing of Officer Aaron Torgalski (the one who seriously hurt the elderly man & wouldn’t help him) They told me to call Buffalo Police HQ about it instead. In case anyone feels as sickened as I do: (716) 851-4444
Another country singer, Maren Morris was also disgusted by the video. "How many “bad apples” just walked by that 75-year-old man on the ground so it wasn’t their responsibility to offer him medical aid? The excessive force with impunity until a civilian or journalist catches you on camera... ?," she tweeted. "Why is it so difficult for us to hold our cops accountable? Is it because it rocks the core of our beliefs that we’re really safe? I’m not going to repost the Buffalo video because it’s vile but it was SO easy for them to lie in the report. Cell phones have become detectives."
In addition, actor Nanjiani posted the video on Twitter, writing, "Can one person who watches this video tell me the violence by this cop was justified?"
He added, "Re: that awful video. Buffalo PD officially said that the man tripped and fell. If we didn’t have video there would have been no accountability. Why? Because one 'bad apple' pushed him down but 20 'good apples' would have let him get away with it. It’s systemic."
Re: that awful video. Buffalo PD officially said that the man tripped & fell. If we didn’t have video there would have been no accountability. Why? Because one “bad apple” pushed him down but 20 “good apples” would have let him get away with it. It’s systemic.
Clarkson also took to Twitter, sharing the video and writing, "To every single cop in this video that walked by that poor man bleeding out of his head after he was OBVIOUSLY pushed, WHY ARE YOU A COP???!!!!! To all the great cops out there, CALL THESE SORRY EXCUSE FOR HUMANS OUT!!"
When one commenter claimed the video was a hoax, Clarkson fired back, "Here’s the problem with what you’re saying (if it was fake) NOT ONE of those cops knew anything in that moment other than an elderly man was pushed down and now there’s blood on the ground and he could be dying. Unless these are special, magical cops that know all #WakeUp."
Seth Rogen was another celebrity who shared the video, writing, "Again, if they’re doing this to old white men ON camera, imagine what the f**k is happening off camera."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo condemned the officers involved, tweeting, "The incident in Buffalo is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful. I’ve spoken with City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and we agree that the officers involved should be immediately suspended. Police officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law.”
This video comes as people across the country and around the world are protesting police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death on May 25. Floyd was a 46-year-old black man who died after a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes.