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57 Buffalo officers resign from Emergency Response Team after two cops suspended

The Hill logo The Hill 6/5/2020 J. Edward Moreno
a group of people walking down the street: 57¬†Buffalo officers resign from Emergency Response Team after two cops suspended © credit: WBFO 57¬†Buffalo officers resign from Emergency Response Team after two cops suspended

The entire Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team has resigned after the department suspended two officers without pay when a video surfaced showing them pushing over a 75-year-old protester.

John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, announced the 57-member team's resignation at a press conference Friday.

"Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders," Evans told a local NBC affiliate.

In a graphic video shot by a WBFO journalist, an elderly man is seen slowly approaching a group of police officers until one of them tells him to move and then pushes him to the ground.

A person can be heard yelling "He's bleeding out of his ear!" and calling for medics. The man is seen laying on his back with blood trickling from his head.

The Buffalo Police Department initially said the man tripped and fell.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) said in a statement that he "was deeply disturbed by the video."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a tweet that "Police Officers must enforce - NOT ABUSE - the law," adding that he and Brown agreed that the "officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a statement Friday that he is investigating the incident.

The resignation of the Emergency Response Team would send a bad signal, said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

"If they resigned, I'm exceptionally disappointed by it because it indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night," Poloncarz said at a press conference Friday.

The incident is one of several instances where police officers appear to be using excessive force against demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody last week.

In Los Angeles, a video surfaced of police officers hitting protesters with batons and shooting rubber bullets. In New York, a video was shared of police SUVs driving through a crowd of protesters, and another showed an officer pushing a woman to the ground.

Warning: Video contains graphic content

Video by TIME

Updated at 4:49 p.m.

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