Video from Buffalo, New York, showed a police officer in riot gear deliver a push to an elderly man who appeared to lose his balance and fall hard to the ground, where he lay motionless and bleeding from his head while several other officers continued to walk past him.
The short video clip was shared on Twitter by WBFO, which noted that the incident took place shortly after 8 p.m. in the city’s Niagara Square, where a protest had been held. In the video, an officer wearing a patch that read Torgalski was seen pushing an elderly man who had approached officers. It was not exactly clear what preceded the incident or why the man was walking toward a line of police officers in riot gear.
The video showed that after the shove, the man stumbled backward before falling hard to the pavement and lay there motionless while bleeding from the back of his head. One of the officers who was closest to the man appeared to bend down to check on him but was pushed away by another officer. Several more police officers then continued to walk past the man’s body until another member of law enforcement wearing tan fatigues stopped to check on him.
The incident can be seen in the video below, but be warned that it contains images that may be distressing for some.
The Buffalo Police Department came under fire for the incident and a statement saying that the man “tripped,” which critics said made no mention of the push from the officer that preceded his fall.
“During that skirmish involving protestors, one person was injured when he tripped & fell,” the department said in a statement, via WBEN.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz provided an update just after 10 p.m., saying he was “sickened” by the incident and noted that the man had been taken to a hospital in stable condition.
“I’ve seen videos of the incident in front of Buffalo’s City Hall in which an older protester appears to have been shoved by police, fell backwards and suffered a serious head injury,” he tweeted. “It sickens me. I’ve confirmed he is at ECMC in stable condition. My thoughts are with him now.”
The video ended later as Buffalo police began to confront other protesters who remained in the city square. As WBEN reported, police were responding to protesters demanding justice for George Floyd that had stretched beyond the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.
The clip quickly gained viral interest after WBFO tweeted it at 9:13 p.m., racking up more than 6 million views. The incident shot to the top of Twitter along with the name of the officer, though the Buffalo Police Department did not confirm his identity.