8:45 p.m. The 75-year-old protester who was violently pushed to the ground by a police officer during a protest in Buffalo last week has suffered a brain injury as a result of the incident, according to his attorney.

"As heartbreaking as it is, his brain is injured and he is well aware of that now," attorney Kelly Zarcone said in a statement about her client, activist Martin Gugino. "He feels encouraged and uplifted by the outpouring of support which he has received from so many people all over the globe. It helps. He is looking forward to healing and determining what his 'new normal' might look like."

The incident, which was captured by a reporter from local radio station WBFO, took place in Buffalo’s Niagara Square during a Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 4th. Just after curfew began at 8 p.m., an officer violently pushed Gugino to the ground, where he hit his head on the pavement and started bleeding out of his ear. Multiple officers walked by as Gugino lay on the pavement bleeding.

Initially, a Buffalo Police spokesman falsely claimed that during a "skirmish involving protestors, one person was injured when he tripped and fell." After the video was spread widely on social media, Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood ordered the immediate suspension without pay of the two officers involved, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski. Both officers were later charged with second-degree felony assault.

After the incident, the entire 57-member Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team resigned from that unit (but not from the police force). The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association claimed that it was a show of solidarity with McCabe and Torgalski, but some officers later said it was more because they felt the city wasn't "legally backing us anymore."

Then this week, Donald Trump falsely targeted Gugino, insinuating without any evidence that he was an "ANTIFA provocateur" and spreading a conspiracy theory, also without any evidence, about him trying to "scan police communications in order to black out the equipment."

Zarcone told The Associated Press that Trump's accusations “are utterly baseless and ridiculous," and that, “no one from law enforcement has even suggested anything otherwise, so we are at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such dark, dangerous, and untrue accusations about him."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the accusations “wholly unacceptable” and said Trump should apologize: “How reckless, how irresponsible, how mean, how crude. I mean if there was ever a reprehensible, dumb comment, and from the president of the United States,” he said during a press conference. “Show some decency. Show some humanity. Show some fairness. You’re the president of the United States.”

7:20 p.m. An NYPD lieutenant reportedly sent an email to his fellow officers apologizing for kneeling with protesters last week during a Black Lives Matter protest, writing that “the cop in me wants to kick my own ass.”

According to the NY Post, Lt. Robert Cattani of the Midtown South Precinct sent an email on June 3rd saying he regretted his “horrible decision to give into a crowd of protesters’ demands” and kneel at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan with a few fellow officers on May 31st. The moment was captured on video by Gothamist reporter Jake Offenhartz:

"The conditions prior to the decision to take a knee were very difficult as we were put center stage with the entire crowd chanting,” Cattani wrote about the crowd. “I know I made the wrong decision. We didn’t know how the protesters would have reacted if we didn’t and were attempting to reduce any extra violence.”

Cattani said that he thought the gesture might ease tensions between cops and protesters: “I thought maybe that one protester/rioters who saw it would later think twice about fighting or hurting a cop,” Cattani wrote. “I was wrong. At least that [sic] what I told myself when we made that bad decision. I know that it was wrong and something I will be shamed and humiliated about for the rest of my life.”

In the email, Cattani condemned Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer accused of murdering George Floyd while in police custody, saying, “We all know that a**hole in Minneapolis was wrong.” But he then added that the decision to kneel “goes against every principle and value I stand for," and that he feels he threw away his reputation of being a "good cop." And since he took the knee, he added that he's agonized about it, struggling to eat and sleep and even considering leaving the department.

“I could not imagine the idea of ever coming back to work and putting on the uniform I so wrongly shamed,” he wrote. “However, I decided that was the easy way out for me and I will continue to come to work every day being there for my personnel.”

Cattani was not the only officer to take a knee with protesters throughout that first tense weekend of protesting: multiple other officers, including Chief Terence Monahan, the highest-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD, did so. Monahan's gesture was seen as a sign of respect and deference, a gesture that garnered positive press and effusive praise from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In an interview with Gothamist today, Monahan defended the NYPD’s handling of the protests and their aggressive police tactics. When asked if there was anything he regretted about how the NYPD responded, he focused on the first four days of protesting: "I wish we had better information. I wish we knew exactly how violent it was going to turn out on those first four days. We expected this to be demonstrations like we're seeing right now—tens of thousands of people peacefully marching through the streets, talking about what needs to be talked about, changes that need to be made. We fully support that."

Protesters Drop Red Paint On Streets During March From East Harlem To Wall Street

6 p.m. About 100 people gathered on a soggy Thursday for a Black Lives Matter march that started at 110th Street near the top of Central Park, and went all the way down to Wall Street. People were encouraged to bring red paint and spray paint to drip and paint on the streets to "symbolize the blood militant forces such as the police cause Black people to shed."

“There’s been blood on the streets for a long time,” said Shelby Brown, who helped organize the march. People also tagged streets with FTP and BLM in red spray paint, and at least one corrections van got red paint on it as well. The marchers were trailed by bike cops on the sides and police cars behind, but they didn't react as people tagged the street.

It was for the most part an incredibly peaceful and conflict-free march, especially compared to the aggressive arrests that occurred last week. There was only one altercation: a man was arrested after he allegedly tagged BLM on a sign near 5th Avenue and 79th Street. The young black man, who said his artist name was Lens, spoke to the crowd as cops placed him in flex cuffs. “I just tagged a sign that said 'Black Lives Matter' because Black lives matter,” he said. “And so do black artists.” Unlike with the violent arrests of last week, Lens was placed in a police van without injury.

Randu Allah, 66, was watching the situation unfold, and said he didn't agree with the arrest, but was thankful no one was hurt. “They arrested that guy properly,” he said. “They didn’t throw him, they didn’t put their knee on his chest, they didn’t make him down lay on the floor like some garbage and put his face on the floor.”

The marchers made it to Wall Street by about 4 p.m. The NYPD had covered the charging bull with tarp and put up barricades around it, but otherwise, they allowed marchers to pour the remaining paint in the street and continue marching south.

De Blasio Again Calls For Brooklyn Street Named After Robert E. Lee To Be Changed

Alex Cascone

3:45 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio renewed his calls for a street named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton military base to be renamed "immediately."

“Nothing should be named after Robert E. Lee at this point in history,” the mayor said during a press conference this morning. “He’s someone who was supposed to follow his oath to the United States of America and the United States military and didn’t…on top of his many other sins and on top of the racism that he stood for.” He added, “Anything named after him has to go in this city.”

During the presser, Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson said that his ancestors on his father’s side were enslaved on a plantation run by Lee’s father Henry Lee.


“This issue is an emotional issue for many people like me,” Thompson said. “And it’s really hard for us to really feel fully part of this country that celebrates our enslavement with names like that [at] military bases all across this country.”

De Blasio noted that he doesn't have the authority to rename the street himself, but said he would contact the military to implore them to do so: “I’ve built relationships with some of the senior military in the context of the coronavirus crisis and I will reach out to them and let them know how important it is to remove the name of Robert E. Lee not only at Fort Hamilton, but everywhere else,” he added.

Back in the summer of 2017, de Blasio as well as other politicians, including U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke, called for General Lee Avenue and Stonewall Jackson Drive, both located in Fort Hamilton, to be renamed. But the Army declined the request at the time, claiming the streets were named after the Confederate generals "in the spirit of reconciliation" and that "after over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive."

At a separate press conference today, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he didn't think the statue of Christopher Columbus should be removed from Columbus Circle.

"I understand the feelings about Christopher Columbus and some of his acts, which nobody would support," Cuomo said. "But the statue has come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian-American contribution to New York, so for that reason I support it."

Here's a running list of protests planned for Thursday, June 11th:

BROOKLYN:

3 p.m.: 443 St. Marks Avenue

7 p.m.: St. Johns Place and Franklin Avenue

7 p.m.: McCarren Park

MANHATTAN:

1 p.m.: 110th Street and 5th Avenue

4 p.m.: Washington Square Park

7 p.m.: Vigil at Carl Schurz

QUEENS:

5 p.m.: Baseball Field at 114th Street and 34th Avenue

5:30 p.m.: Lt. Frank McConnel Park (corner of 120st Street and Atlantic Avenue)