75-year-old Buffalo protester pushed to ground by police released from hospital

BUFFALO, New York (WABC) -- The 75-year-old protester who was pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo has been released from the hospital.

Martin Gugino suffered a fractured skull in the incident which happened June 4 during the George Floyd demonstrations.

Two Buffalo police officers have been charged with second-degree assault after a widely shared video captured Gugino falling to the ground after being pushed on June 4. He was seen bleeding from his head as officers walked away.

The officers, who could face prison sentences of up to seven years if convicted, have pleaded not guilty.

Gugino's attorney released the following statement Tuesday:

"Martin Gugino was released from the Erie County Medical Center earlier today. He will be recovering at an undisclosed location in order to ensure his privacy. Martin wants to thank the entire hospital staff for their exceptional dedication and professionalism. He received truly outstanding care and for that, he is grateful. I was able to see Martin today and he looks great. He can walk with a little help and his condition will continue to improve with rest and time. I brought him the cards and letters sent to my office and he said he still felt overjoyed at the continued support and well wishes, 'like it was Christmas Day.' Martin said that he is pleased at the progress made so far to protect the safety of peaceful protesters, a topic near and dear to his heart. He respects the burden of authority placed upon law enforcement but looks forward to the continued implementation of systemic changes to eliminate police brutality."

The video is one of several that have emerged showing police using seemingly excessive force against protesters.

The Buffalo-area retiree has been described by friends as a veteran peace activist driven by his Catholic faith and a desire for social justice.

President Donald Trump soon after claimed on Twitter, without evidence, that the elderly protester "could be an ANTIFA provocateur" involved in a possible setup. The president's tweet was widely criticized and the accusations were dismissed by Zarcone as "utterly baseless and ridiculous."

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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