MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami Beach commissioner has echoed a conspiracy theory President Donald Trump tweeted out regarding a protester who was rushed to the hospital after being pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo, New York.
Trump tweeted the theory about the man in the video, identified as 75-year-old Martin Gugino, on Tuesday. The theory was first floated in Russian media.
“Buffalo protester shoved by police could be an ANTIFA provocateur,” Trump wrote. “75 year-old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. [@One American News Network] I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”
Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola echoed the president’s doubts about the protester in a tweet sent out on Tuesday.
“What part of having a guy who is trying to steal police frequency so he can sabotage them is offensive to you? He flopped better than Michael Jordan trying to get a charge foul. Seriously – be objective. This guy is no angel,” Arriola wrote.
Arriola explained his tweet in an interview with 7News.
“Apparently, he was pushed by the police,” Arriola said. “That was caught on video, so that’s clear, but what’s not clear is the motivation that the gentleman had in even confronting the police, and so I called into question, ‘What’s the real story?'”
Arriola added that people should not rush to judgement.
“Everything that is being videotaped nowadays makes it to social media, and right now, there’s a rush to judgement of the police, and I think that is very dangerous,” he said.
A friend of Gugino’s said he is an activist devoted to the Catholic worker movement and peace work.
“I will tell you that Martin is totally nonviolent,” Vicki Ross, the executive director of the Western New York Peace Center, said. “He’s committed to nonviolence.”
Fifty-seven Buffalo Police officers have resigned from the crowd control unit but remain on the force after the two officers involved were suspended.
They have been charged with assault as well as intentionally pushing Gugino, and they are felony charges because the victim is a senior citizen.
As for Gugino, he responded to a text from USA Today with: “No comment other than black lives matter. Just out of the ICU. Should recover eventually. Thx.”
Arriola has since tweeted out that the protester in the video has been arrested close to 300 different times, but it’s not clear where the information came from. The commissioner went on to say that he participated in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest earlier in the day.
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