Martin Gugino took the long view when he heard a grand jury declined to indict two Buffalo police officers who were seen shoving him to the ground during a protest outside City Hall last year.
Gugino said he heard the felony assault charges against Buffalo officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were dropped from a reporter who called him Thursday night (Feb. 11).
In a call with RNS, he seemed stoic.
“There’s a great deal of work that needs to be done,” said the 76-year-old Catholic peace activist. “It’s one more setback. This whole story has been ‘go forward a little bit; push back a little bit.’ As Martin Luther King said, ‘The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
Related: Whatever happened to Martin Gugino?
In a video of the June 4 incident, Gugino was seen approaching Buffalo police in riot gear during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd. (Gugino believed the city-imposed curfew was unconstitutional and tried to approach the officers to discuss it with them.) Two officers pushed him away. He fell back, cracking his head open and visibly bleeding on the sidewalk as the police officers walked past him.
The video went viral and became symbolic of the kind of police brutality that has sparked calls for fundamental reforms to American policing.
Buffalo police suspended the two officers. That, in turn, led to the resignations of all 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response.
Prosecutors charged the officers with a felony as required by New York state law when a victim is at least 65 and the suspected perpetrators are at least 10 years younger.
You can see the video at the center of the case below.