President Trump tweeted Tuesday that the 75-year-old peace activist who was violently shoved to the ground by Buffalo, N.Y., police last week “could be an ANTIFA provocateur” and “fell harder than he was pushed.”
The OANN report claims — all without evidence — that the protester, Martin Gugino, used “a phone as a capture scanner” as “a method of police tracking used by Antifa to monitor the location of police.”
The OANN reporter, Kristian Rouz, is a Russian national who also writes for Kremlin-owned Sputnik, per The Daily Beast.
“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur,” Trump tweeted, citing no evidence. “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?”
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?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2020
Gugino remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition, per WGRZ.
The officers who pushed him were charged with second-degree assault and released on bail over the weekend.
Here's that OANN report that led to the president's tweet. pic.twitter.com/GvCLyjJ5Vt
— Eugene Daniels (@EugeneDaniels2) June 9, 2020
Gugino, a longtime peace activist, was described by a friend as a “gentle person” who “would never resist physically any kind of orders.”
“He’s a gentle person who really believes that he must stand up for what he thinks is right,” said his friend Terrence Bisson, who has worked with Gugino on Latin American issues through the Western New York Peace Center.
“That’s why he went to the demonstration. He would never resist physically any kind of orders,” Bisson said. “He’s a bit frail, not because of his age. He has some health problems.”
On Friday, Martin Gugino's attorney issued this statement:
"Mr. Gugino's requests privacy for himself and his family as he recovers."
Four days later, President Trump caluminated him on Twitter.
At last check, the president has 81.9 million followers. https://t.co/xWBfMIZxn6
— David Gura (@davidgura) June 9, 2020
If your uncle sent this to you on Facebook, you'd check with your aunt to make sure he was ok. pic.twitter.com/TDlqLYvFJm
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) June 9, 2020