Trump Floats Conspiracy That 75-Year-Old Buffalo Protester Pushed By Police Was ‘A Set Up’
President Donald Trump dangerously suggested with no evidence whatsoever that a 75-year-old protester shoved by police in Buffalo, New York, last week could be “a set up” by “an ANTIFA provocateur.”
“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment,” the president tweeted Tuesday morning. “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”
Trump’s tweet appears to reference a report that aired on OANN, a right-wing network that routinely disseminates conspiracy theories.
A widely circulated video on Thursday showed police shoving Gugino, who had been participating in a peaceful protest over the police killing of George Floyd. The video shows Gugino falling backward, hitting his head and bleeding from the ear. He was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
Two officers were later suspended without pay and charged with second-degree assault.
The police department initially claimed Gugino “tripped and fell.” After the video surfaced showing what happened, the mayor and the governor criticized the police actions.
Gugino’s attorney said his client “has been a longtime peaceful protester, human rights advocate and overall fan of the U.S. Constitution for many years,” and “requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful.”
As protests against racism spread across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death, numerous examples of police responding with violence have been captured on video.
Trump repeatedly called for military action against the protesters. Last week, federal authorities tear-gassed peaceful protesters near the White House, clearing the way for Trump to stage a photo-op at a nearby church.
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