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Entire Buffalo Emergency Response Team resigns posts in support of suspended officers

Kyle S. Mackie

According to multiple reports, all 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team have resigned from the team as a show of support for the two officers who were suspended Thursday night.

The officers have not resigned from their regular jobs on the force.

Thursday night's incident in Niagara Square put 75-year old Martin Gugino in the hospital after he was pushed to the ground by two officers. Both were later suspended without pay.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown released the following statement regarding the resignations.

The City of Buffalo is aware of developments related to the work assignments of certain members of the Buffalo police force. At this time, we can confrim that contingency plans are in place to maintain police services and ensure public safety within our community. The Buffalo police continue to actively work with the New York State Police and other cooperating agencies.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood issued the following statement Friday afternoon: 

While not having any direct oversight on the Buffalo Police Department, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz expressed his disappointment in the response team's decision.

“It indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night," said Poloncarz. "Which, I think each of us in this room found something wrong with, as well as our governor, the mayor, and millions of people across the country and for that matter the world.”

Poloncarz said some officers really need to start examining what their role and duty is in the community.

“They are swearing when they become an officer to serve and protect, and to uphold the law. It’s not to uphold the laws as they choose in that instant, it’s to uphold the law," Poloncarz said. "Including ensuring that what they do, not only preventing criminals from entering into criminal activity, but ensuring they don’t do activity and engage in activity that could be criminal in nature.”

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
Ryan Zunner joined WBFO in the summer of 2018 as an intern, before working his way up to reporter the following summer.