A total of 57 police officers all serving on Buffalo, New York's emergency response team have resigned from their roles after two cops on the team were suspended for shoving a protester onto a sidewalk, the Investigative Post reports.
The entire team quit their emergency roles at the Buffalo Police Department Friday afternoon in protest of how their colleagues were treated.
"Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders," Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans told the Investigative Post.
It is unclear if the cops have totally quit the force or just refuse to report to the riot team.
The group resigned after a video showing two cops shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground outside of Buffalo City Hall on Thursday night began to circulate.
The protester is in the hospital after the shove caused him to crack open his head.
Cops were clearing the area of people as the demonstration took place past an imposed curfew. People have been protesting anti-police brutality after the death of George Floyd.
Both cops involved in the incident were suspended without pay.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for the cops involved to be suspended immediately. During his daily briefing Friday, he said the district attorney is looking into filing criminal charges. He said watching the video made him nauseous.
"I was sick to my stomach . . . it was the same feeling I had for 90 of the past nights when I got the death tolls for coronavirus," he said. "I was physically sick to my stomach."
Buffalo police officers were told Friday the union representing them will not pay for legal fees to defend officers involved in incidents related to the protests, a source told the Buffalo News.
"Our position is these officers were simply following orders from Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia to clear the square," Evans told the Buffalo News. "It doesn't specify clear the square of men, 50 and under, or 15-40. They were simply doing their job. I don't know how much contact was made. He did slip in my estimation. He fell backwards."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz discussed the mass resignation at a press conference Friday.
"If they resigned, I'm exceptionally disappointed by it because it indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night," Poloncarz said.
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