An elderly protester was severely injured on Thursday, June 4, after being pushed by police officers as they cleared Niagara Square in Buffalo, New York, leading to the suspension of the officers involved.
In a graphic video that is being widely circulated on social media, the 75-year-old man can be seen walking up to officers in tactical gear as they marched towards demonstrators to sweep the area after the 8 p.m. curfew.
Trauma to the Head
As the man approaches, several officers can be seen forcing the man behind. "Move!," yells one of the officers before shoving the man's chest. The push caused the man, who has not yet been identified, to stumble back and fall backwards before hitting his head on the concrete floor.
The video then shows a pool of blood forming underneath the man's head almost immediately as people in the crowd can be heard saying, "he's bleeding out of his ears." Bleeding from the ear after a hit or blow to the head are signs of bleeding in the brain or brain damage.
Emergency medical attention was then administered to the victim before being rushed to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment. An initial statement from the Buffalo Police Department claimed the man injured himself after he "tripped and fell." The man is currently in stable but serious condition.
Police Officers Suspended
The incident has sparked nationwide outrage, prompting Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to release a statement saying he was "deeply disturbed by the video" and had ordered an immediate internal affair investigation into the incident. He also added that the two police officers involved in the altercation have been suspended without pay.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a tweet, called the incident "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful."
The New York Attorney General's Office also said on Twitter it is aware of the video, which went viral on social media with more than 21 million views and attracted national and international attention.
Protests have erupted across the country over the death of George Floyd while being arrested by the Minneapolis police department last month. Floyd, an African-American man died after a police officer pinned him down with his knee over his neck, suffocating him for nearly nine minutes.