BUFFALO, N.Y. (WTVO) — The entire Buffalo Police Emergency Response Team resigned Friday afternoon in support of two officers who were suspended for pushing a 75-year-old protester to the ground Thursday.
“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” said John Evans, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president.
The special response unit was formed in 2016 and is deployed to manage mass protests or riots.
After a curfew was issued, 75-year-old Martin Gugino approached officers in riot gear, who pushed him to the ground.
Gugino is said to be in serious condition at a local hospital, according to WKBW.
The two officers involved were put on suspension without pay, and the incident is being investigated by the Erie County District Attorney.
The 57 officers have not resigned from the police department, but have only resigned their roles on the Emergency Response Team.
According to WKBW, the officers said they were following orders given by the police commissioner to clear Niagra Square.
Mayor Byron Brown said “The City of Buffalo is aware of developments related to the work assignments of certain members of the Buffalo police force. At this time, we can confirm that contingency plans are in place to maintain police services and ensure public safety within our community. The Buffalo police continue to actively work with the New York State Police and other cooperating agencies.”