Hospitalized Buffalo Protester Martin Gugino, 75, Claps Back After Trump Smears Him

After Donald Trump tried claiming that Martin Gugino, the elderly protester shoved in Buffalo by police, could be an 'antifa provocateur' who 'set up' his own assault, his lawyer clapped back.

UPDATE (6/9/20 8:03pm ET): Martin Gugino’s lawyer Kelly V. Zarcone, Esq. released a statement, following Trump’s tweet, telling HollywoodLife.com that, “Martin is out of ICU but still hospitalized and truly needs to rest. Martin has always been a PEACEFUL protestor because he cares about today’s society. He is also a typical Western New Yorker who loves his family. No one from law enforcement has even suggested anything otherwise, so we are at a loss to understand why the President of the United States would make such untrue accusations against him.”

ORIGINAL STORY: President Donald Trump sunk to a new low on June 9 when he accused Martin Gugino, the elderly protester brutalized by Buffalo police officers, of exaggerating his injuries. Gugino, 75, remains in serious condition in the hospital five days after two officers threw him to the ground with no provocation. “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75-year-old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

It’s a lie that Gugino was “scanning police communications” and it’s unclear where Trump, 73, got that erroneous information. Video of the incident clearly shows Gugino approaching a line of officers in Niagara Square while protesting, unarmed. Two officers shove the elderly man onto the pavement so hard that he falls unconscious. The entire force of cops, rather than administer aid, step over Gugino as blood seeps from his ear. You can watch the footage below, but warning: it’s graphic.

Trump’s tweet sparked massive outrage on Twitter. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo went after Trump’s claims in his daily press briefing, later tweeting, “The president is tweeting conspiracy theories about the Buffalo incident based on no evidence, no proof. Was the blood coming out of his head staged? Were our eyes lying to us? No. The man is still in the hospital & the president is disparaging him. It’s cruel & reckless.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic nominee for president, tweeted, “My Dad used to say there’s no greater sin than the abuse of power. Whether it’s an officer bloodying a peaceful protester or a President defending him with a conspiracy theory he saw on TV. I’m a Catholic –- just like Martin. Our faith says that we can’t accept either.”

The two police officers who shoved Gugino, Robert McCabe, 32, and Aaron Torgalski, 39, were arrested and charged with felony assault in the second degree. They both pleaded not guilty. In support of the officers, the entire Emergency Response Team resigned, though will remain as officers with the Buffalo PD. Gugino is a longtime peace activist who works with multiple charities and advocacy groups.

He is a member of PUSH Buffalo, which focuses on affordable housing, and Western New York Peace Center, a human rights organization. He is also a member of the Catholic Worker Movement, an organization founded by Dorothy Day, in which members aim to “live in accordance with the justice and charity of Jesus Christ.” As one of Gugino’s friends told The Buffalo News, “He’s a gentle person who really believes that he must stand up for what he thinks is right.”

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump (REX/Shutterstock)

Gugino was protesting in Buffalo that day in support of Black Lives Matter after the unjust death of George Floyd. Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes as he struggled to breathe; the officer has now been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Floyd’s death sparked massive protests in cities around the world that are continuing into their second week.

Gugino’s health hasn’t improved since his assault, his lawyer, Kelly V. Zarcone, said in a June 8 statement: “Martin Gugino is still hospitalized and his condition remains largely unchanged. He is in serious but stable condition. Martin has acknowledged and sincerely appreciates the tremendous outpouring of support he has received nationwide. Martin and his family continue to request privacy as they focus on Martin’s health and recovery.”

More From Our Partners