Crime Assault charges dropped against Buffalo police officers seen pushing protester
Joe Biden Honors Fallen Officer Brian Sicknick in Moving Photos of Capitol Ceremony
Officer Sicknick's ceremonial rest comes as investigators are working to build a murder case and prove a cause of death. Although multiple photos and videos show Sicknick engaging with rioters, authorities are yet to find a specific moment in which he suffered the fatal injuries.Sicknick's death was the fifth fatality in connection with the riots, in which supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election.Protester Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt, a 35-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, also died after being shot by a Capitol police officer.
Assault charges against two Buffalo, New York, police officersshoving a 75-year-old man to the ground during a protest last year have been dropped, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe faced felony assault charges over the June 4 incident at Niagara Square. In the video, protester Martin Gugino is seen walking in the direction of the officers before they are seen pushing him. Gugino fell flat onto his back and hit the back of his head on the concrete, video shows.
The grand jury voted to "no bill" the case, ultimately dismissing the charges, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said during a press briefing Thursday.
House to fine lawmakers $5,000 for skirting metal detectors, security measures after riot
The House of Representatives adopted a rule Tuesday to fine lawmakers who flout safety measures put in place after the deadly U.S. Capitol riot.The rule gives the Sergeant-at-Arms the authority to fine lawmakers $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 on a second if the legislators do not complete the security screening to enter the house, which includes walking through a metal detector.
Flynn defended his decision to bring charges against the officers.
"To this day, I'll stand by the fact that charges should have been charged, and there was probable cause at that time to charge that offense, and I stand by that," Flynn said. "I make no apologies for it."
The grand jury proceedings are sealed and Flynn was unable to elaborate on what happened, but he said prosecutors "put all relevant evidence" before the grand jury, including multiple witnesses.
"I sandbagged nothing," he said. "You have my word on that."
Both officers, who were, entered not guilty pleas during their arraignment in June. The case was delayed getting to the grand jury due to that had closed the courts, Flynn said.
Domestic extremism has become 'mainstream,' could threaten American life for 20 years
The Capitol riots Jan. 6 were a "watershed moment" for white supremacists and anti-government groups and require a 9/11-type response, experts warn."We must be prepared for a long fight," Christopher Rodriguez, chief of the district's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, told the House Homeland Security Committee.
Joseph Latona, the attorney for Torgalski, told ABC News they were "obviously very pleased" by the grand jury's decision.
"We feel they made the right decision," he said. "And obviously it was their decision to make."
Thomas Burton, the attorney for McCabe, told ABC News they are focused on getting the officers "back in the saddle where they belong."
"Nobody wanted to see Mr. Gugino get hurt, but this did not happen because these two cops sought out to hurt anyone," Burton said. "The bottom line is, there's nothing malevolent here."
Gugino told Buffalo ABC affiliateThursday night that he was shocked the charges against the officers were dropped. "It's a surprise and I think the whole world is going to be surprised," he said.
'Senseless, heinous loss': Suspect in fatal shooting of New Mexico State Police officer killed in Interstate 10 shootout
Interstate 10 near Las Cruces was closed in both directions into Thursday night following a deadly shootout that was captured on video. Your browser does not support this video The suspect, who has not been identified, shot the state police officer on Interstate 10 before fleeing east. About 40 miles later, the suspect was killed in a shootout with Las Cruces police officers and Doña Ana County Sheriff's deputies. © Nathan J. Fish/Sun-News A New Mexico State Police mobile command post is stationed near the Motel Boulevard exit off Interstate 10 on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.
"You think I am breaking the law, arrest me," Gugino added, referring to the officers' use of force toward him. "Don't push me down. Where is that in the training manual?"
In a statement to ABC News Friday, Gugino and his lawyer, Kelly Zarcone, said that, like Flynn, they thought the incident "deserved serious scrutiny."
"Our position remains that the government's use of unnecessary physical force against peaceful protesters is patently wrong and un-American," they said.
Gugino told "Good Morning America" Friday he spent two months recovering, including one month in the hospital, after fracturing his skull.
"What happened to me is just a small, tiny, minuscule piece of ... what happens in the Black communities all the time," he told "GMA." "We got to do better. We have to do better than this."
Both officers remain suspended pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. It is unclear at this point when that will be completed, Buffalo Police Department Capt. Jeff Rinaldo told ABC News Thursday.
Former US Capitol police chief details delays in aid and intelligence failures during assault on Capitol
The former chief of the US Capitol Police provided Congress the clearest timeline yet of the events leading up to and including the January 6 insurrection, while naming other law enforcement agencies and a slow bureaucracy that both harmed the department's ability to secure the building that day. © Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Police clash with supporters of US President Donald Trump who breached security and entered the Capitol building in Washington D.C., United States on January 06, 2021.
The Buffalo police union issued a statement in support of the officers following the grand jury's decision.
"As we have stated all along, Officers McCabe and Torgalski were simply following departmental procedures and the directives of their superiors to clear Niagara Square despite working under extremely challenging circumstances."
Gugino was among fewer than 20 demonstrators protesting against the death of George Floyd in Minnesota while in police custody. The protest occurred after a Buffalo curfew, Flynn noted.
"There was a curfew, and he broke the law," Flynn said. "He should not have been shoved. He should have been arrested peacefully."
ABC News' Alyssa Acquavella and Anthony Kane contributed to this report.
Myanmar protesters live in fear of nighttime arrests during an internet blackout .
Many citizens in Myanmar have told CNN they are terrified of being dragged from their beds in nighttime or early morning raids, which have become frequent occurrences since the military coup.By day, thousands of people across the country join vibrant demonstrations calling for the military, which seized power in a coup on February 1, to hand back power to civilian control and release ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. They defiantly bang pots and pans, beat drums, wave creative signs and march en masse through the streets. Government and factory workers have gone on strike to join a growing civil disobedience movement against the takeover.