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The 75-year-old Buffalo man seriously injured by police ‘had a good chuckle’ over Trump’s tweet

Andrew Cuomo

Martin Gugino is still hospitalized in severe pain almost a week after Buffalo officers pushed him to the ground, causing the elderly man’s head to bleed.

But after learning President Donald Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory, suggesting Gugino was an “ANTIFA provocateur,” the 75-year-old just laughed.

“He had a good chuckle out of it,” said his friend Mark Colville, who spoke to Gugino by phone Tuesday.

Gugino, like thousands of Americans across the country, was peacefully protesting Thursday against racial injustice and police brutality after the death of George Floyd.

Even though Gugino is generally “shy and reserved,” he “takes public action as a matter of conscience and faith,” Colville said.

“Even when he was asked for any public comment, his only comment was that ‘black lives matter’ and we should continue to protest peacefully,” Colville said.

Friends say Gugino is far from an “ANTIFA provocateur,” as Trump suggested:

“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 tweeted.

Colville said the tweet is ludicrous.

“It’s getting pretty obvious that the President’s relationship with reality continues to deteriorate,” he said.

He said Gugino grew up in Buffalo and had returned to take care of his mother. Gugino and Colville struck up a friendship when both volunteered in activism, including with the group Witness Against Torture.

Gugino is a “peace-making” man, his friend and fellow activist Kathy Kelly said.

Video shows Gugino calmly walking up to police just before he was pushed. Two suspended officers face charges in the incident.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that he wanted to strike up a conversation with someone who, to me, would look like a fearsome person,” Kelly said. “To Martin, he would look like someone who might be interested in an exchange.”

Kelly last saw Gugino in November, when Gugino was a guest speaker at an annual dinner for the Western New York Peace Center.

She said friends had been worried about his health even before he was pushed to the ground by police.

“At age 75 and not in the best of health, I think he took a hard blow,” Kelly said.

Gugino was hospitalized in serious but stable condition. But as of Wednesday, his condition is improving, and “we hope he will be released within the next two weeks,” his attorney Kelly Zarcone said.

Kathy Kelly said she would be “very surprised” if Gugino ever responded to Trump’s allegations against Gugino on Twitter.

“I just don’t think Martin would return that sentiment,” she said.

And Colville said no tweet can take away from Gugino’s commitment to social activism.

“Martin’s life stands for itself. It speaks for itself.”

Article Topic Follows: US & World

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