On Tuesday, President Donald Trump amplified a new conspiracy theory, this time involving Martin Gugino -- the 75-year old protester who was shoved by a Buffalo police officer. He "could be an ANTIFA provocateur", Trump tweeted.
At a protest in Buffalo on June 4, Gugino was videotaped being assaulted by the police officers. As he went to speak to them, an officer shoved him to the ground. He fell on his back and blood pooled around his head as the officers swiftly walked away. Two officers were suspended over the incident, while 57 others resigned in support of their co-workers.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory, referring to a news report by OAN, a right-wing news network, that claimed that Gugino is an "enthusiastic provocateur for the radical left who sometimes went out of his way to harass the police." The OAN report was based on a blog by The Conservative Treehouse that called Gugino, a "professional agitator and Antifa provocateur."
In a bizarre claim, the blog claimed that as Gugino approached the police officers, he used a communications tracker on his phone to scan the microphones of officers. This was "to capture the radio communications signature of Buffalo police officers," the blog post claimed. According to it, the tactic is used by Antifa, the ultra-left wing group, to monitor the police's location.
Gugino "was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to blackout the equipment," Trump tweeted the claim. He further said that the elderly protester fell harder than he was pushed. "Was aiming scanner. Could be a setup?", Trump tweeted.
The blog post also referred to a video, claimed to be shot before the incident, where a protester could be heard saying that Gugino was trying to get punched in the face. It also referred to the Buffalo Mayor, Byron Brown's statement that he was a "major instigator" and an "agitator." It also claimed that his Twitter page is filled with anti-police tweets. It referred to one such tweet, where he wrote, "F**k the police".
According to recent reports, Gugino is still in the hospital. His condition is serious but stable. In a written reply to USA Today, he declined to comment on Trump's statement, stating "No comment other than Black lives matter." He further informed that he was out of ICU and would recover soon.