Donald Trump denounced as ‘cruel and reckless’ over Buffalo protester conspiracy theory

US President Donald Trump has been blasted as “cruel and reckless” for suggesting a 75-year-old man knocked to the ground during a Black Lives Matter protest may have been “a set up”.

Trump wrote on Twitter overnight that the man, Martin Gugino, “fell harder than was pushed” in footage captured by a TV crew in Buffalo, New York on Friday.The footage led to two police officers being charged with assault.

“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur,” Trump wrote, referencing the decentralised radical group Antifa, which stands for anti-fascists.

“I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Mr Gugino was shown approaching a line of police, before being pushed backwards and falling onto the footpath. Blood could be seen spilling from his head, but while one officer appeared to lean down to check on him, a colleague seemingly urged the officer to keep walking.

The two charged officers, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, have pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, and have been released without bail. They are currently suspended, and 57 other officers resigned from the emergency response team in “solidarity” with the duo.

Gugino appears to have been knocked unconscious and blood can be seen coming from one ear. (WBFO)

According to CNN, Mr Gugino, a longtime activist, is currently still hospitalised.

Black Lives Matter protests have swept the US and the world, with hundreds of thousands expressing their exhaustion and anger with ongoing police brutality and racial injustoce after the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of police on May 25.

Many filmed incidents of police brutality like the one in Buffalo have done little to reduce tensions.

Nor has the fact that Trump chose to post the theory – which CNN suggests comes from a Fox News segment – on the same day as Mr Floyd’s funeral, which is taking place in Houston after six days of national mourning.
President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials, June 8, 2020, at the White House in Washington. (AP)

“The president is tweeting conspiracy theories about the Buffalo incident based on no evidence, no proof,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter after Trump’s post.

“Was the blood coming out of his head staged? Were our eyes lying to us? No. The man is still in the hospital & the president is disparaging him.

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