The video, uploaded on the evening of June 4, gathered more than 56 million views, 10,000 comments, and more than 60,000 retweets in less than 24 hours.
Rabat – A video documenting police brutality against a 75-year-old man in Buffalo, the second-largest city in the state of New York, has gone viral on social networks.
Journalists from the Buffalo-based WBFO news station recorded the footage that shows two police officers shoving the old man, making him lose his balance and fall to the pavement.
The victim audibly hit his head on the concrete and a pool of blood started forming under his skull.
After the incident, one of the officers attempts to check on the man lying on the ground, but two of his colleagues pull him away. The footage shows several officers walking past the unconscious man.
Two members of the National Guard who witnessed the scene then kneel to check on the old man, before two medics come forward to treat him and put him in an ambulance.
The unidentified man was in a serious, but stable, condition on Thursday night, local official Mark Poloncarz announced on June 4. Friday morning, Poloncarz said the victim is now “alert and oriented.”
New update on the 75 year old man injured during last night’s BPD incident: he is still in serious but stable condition at the Erie County Medical Center and, as was relayed to me by an ECMC official, he is “alert and oriented.” That is better news. Let’s hope he fully recovers.
— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) June 5, 2020
While the reason the old man was approaching the police officers remains unclear, publications on social media suggest he was attempting to bring back a police helmet that an officer lost while dispersing protests.
He was bringing back a police helmet to the cops. This is beyond disgusting. pic.twitter.com/7NCuvdkl31
— lil hillbilly exotic (@Proberts_GHST) June 5, 2020
Soon after the incident and before WBFO uploaded the footage, a Buffalo Police spokesman released a statement saying, “During [a] skirmish involving protestors, one person was injured when he tripped and fell.”
However, after the video went online, the local police department quickly announced that an internal affairs investigation is ongoing and that the local police commissioner has ordered the immediate suspension of the two officers involved, without pay.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown also commented on the incident, saying he was “deeply disturbed by the video.”
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described the incident as “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.”
This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.
I’ve spoken with Buffalo @MayorByronBrown and we agree that the officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.
Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law. https://t.co/EYIbTlXnPt
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 5, 2020
The incident comes as the US witnesses a series of protests against police brutality and racism. The protests sparked after a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota murdered an unarmed black man named George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes during a non-violent arrest.
While a large number of protests were peaceful, some of the gatherings witnessed violence and turned into riots, with participants causing damage to public property and looting commercial stores. Other protests across the country saw amplified violence as police used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators.