Buffalo mayor calls video of police shoving 75-year-old protester "horrific"

Buffalo mayor on police shoving protester
Buffalo mayor on police shoving protester 07:15

The mayor of Buffalo, New York has called the video showing police in the city shoving protester Martin Gugino earlier this month "horrific," and said he does not believe the push by officers was "necessary."

The video, in which Gugino appears to fall hard enough for blood to pool around his head as officers walked past where he lay still, sparked nationwide anger amid anti-police brutality protests. 

The 75-year-old is recovering after being in critical condition at the hospital, and the two officers involved were suspended without pay and charged with second-degree assault

Brown said law enforcement are trained to use common sense. "I don't believe common sense was used," he told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Jeff Glor.

When he first saw the video of Gugino being shoved, Brown said he was "immediately praying" for the man's health.

"I immediately thought about: Is he gonna be okay?" he said. "But then had to reach out very quickly to the management of the Buffalo Police Department to try to make sense of what I had seen."

The initial police report after the incident said Gugino tripped and fell. It was not corrected until the video sparked an outcry. 

When asked about the initial communication process, Brown seemed to dispel the notion that the mistake was definitely deliberate.

Everything was "moving very quickly," Brown said. "People in every single profession can make a mistake, and that mistake doesn't mean that an intention to mislead is what occurred."

Brown said the mass resignation of Buffalo PD's special response unit in response to the actions against the offending officers was due to a "threat" from their union, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.

"They got a bulletin from their union saying that if you perform these duties as a member of that unit, you will not receive coverage from the union," he said.

Brown called it "unconscionable" for a union to treat its due-paying members that way, and said the police commissioner's response was "appropriate."

He has allowed protesters to write messages, sometimes graphic, in chalk on some of the city's most important buildings in order to express their anger.

"We're fine with that," he said. "These messages can be removed."

President Trump also involved himself in the situation when he tweeted a conspiracy theory that Gugino "fell harder than he was pushed," and could have been a part of antifa. Brown said his tempered response to Mr. Trump's comments was what was expected from a leader.

"I think we have to go out of our way right now to show our respect and call people into being part of the solution," he said. "As a leader, it's critically important for me to show respect, for me to model the behavior that I want every single resident of this community to exhibit."