AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.President Trump baselessly accused a senior-citizen protester injured by police of being an “ANTIFA provocateur” who may have faked his fall.“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” Trump claimed on Tuesday.
The footage of Gugino is one of the more striking images of police brutality in the past few weeks. Police in Buffalo, New York, shoved the 75-year-old activist at a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday. He stumbled backwards before falling, and cracked his head on the ground. As he laid unmoving, blood visibly pooling from his ear, dozens of police officers casually walked past him.
Gugino suffered a concussion and he was still in the hospital in serious but stable condition as of Monday. The two officers who pushed him are now facing criminal charges — but hundreds of their fellow officers came to applaud them as they left the courthouse Monday.Trump sourced the evidence-free claim from the far right-wing One America News Network, which ran a Tuesday segment claiming that Gugino’s fall could be “a false flag provocation by far-left group ANTIFA.”
Trump threatened to designate antifa a terrorist group on May 31, even though there’s no clear organized structure of the fringe anarchist movement, and the U.S. cannot designate American-run groups as terrorist organizations.His disturbing and irresponsible Tuesday tweet comes just a week after police violently cleared peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square in D.C. so Trump could have a photo op in front of a church that had been vandalized just outside the White House gates.Needless to say, Trump and OANN presented no actual evidence that Gugino is affiliated with antifa in any way. According to the Washington Post, Gugino is involved in nonprofits that focus on affordable housing and human rights, and is part of the Catholic Worker Movement.Cover: President Donald Trump speaks after touring Puritan Medical Products, a medical swab manufacturer, Friday, June 5, 2020, in Guilford, Maine. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)