Two police officers have been suspended after they were caught on video pushing a 75-year-old white man to the ground in the US state of New York.
In a viral video on social media, the two officers were seen approaching an elderly man who was protesting in Buffalo, New York, despite the curfew imposed on the city to quell the growing protests against police brutality.
As the elderly man also advanced forwarded, a police officer pushed him to the ground, which caused him to fall over and hit his head.
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Blood is seen pouring from the man’s ear as he lay on the ground.
He was taken away in an ambulance and was later found to have suffered a severe head injury.
An initial statement from Buffalo Police Department said the man had “tripped” and fallen during a “skirmish involving protesters”, compounding outrage at the incident on social media.
But Jeff Rinaldo, Buffalo Police spokesman, later attributed the statement to officers not directly involved in the incident, adding that when the video had emerged the two policemen who pushed the demonstrator had been suspended without pay.
Despite defending the overall police actions in his state earlier on Thursday, Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, condemned the Buffalo incident.
“Police officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law,” he said.
On the same evening, a delivery driver in New York City was arrested 27 minutes after the city’s curfew had started, despite being a key worker exempt from the curfew.
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, said he had complained to the city police department after seeing the video of the arrest of the delivery worker.
This incident happened as police enforced curfews in dozens of cities across the US after a wave of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African-American.
A white police officer in the US city of Minneapolis was captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.
His killing has caused outrage and sparked a wave of protests against racial discrimination and police treatment of African Americans in cities across the US and the world.
The vast majority of demonstrations over the past eight days have been peaceful but some have descended into violence and rioting, with curfews imposed in a number of cities.