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'I'm fine': Martin Gugino, protester injured by Buffalo Police, speaks out

Thomas O'Neil-White

The elderly man who suffered a fractured skull after being shoved to the ground by Buffalo Police this summer told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he is doing fine.

Martin Gugino, 75, was attending a Black Lives Matter protest at Niagara Square in early June when he approached police officers in front of City Hall who were dispersing the crowd due to a curfew imposed by Mayor Byron Brown. Gugino was knocked to the ground by an officer and spent weeks in the hospital recovering from a fractured skull.

WBFO's video of the incident become international news at a time where calls for police defunding and abolishment grow louder. Although Gugino has little recollection of being shoved and the aftermath, he said he was at the square that day exercising his First Amendment rights.

“The curfew was wrong,” he said. “Mayor Brown has to be taught what the First Amendment means. First Amendment means. You’re allowed to protest on the sidewalk. Protest is the American Way.”

Slighly stooped and walking with a cane, Gugino joked about not realizing he was the center of international attention until his niece told him.

He says he has slight health problems stemming from being shoved to the ground but is making the most of the situation.

“I’m fine,” he said. “I have residual things like this [pointing to his ear] will probably never come back all the way. But I’m out, I’m good. I have a cane, I’m good. The city is not good.”

The two officers involved in Gugino’s incident were suspended and have been charged with second-assault.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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