Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, who surrendered Saturday morning, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault. They were released without bail.
As hundreds of thousands march across the country, police in several US cities have been condemned for their crashes on demonstrations, including punching, kicking, tearing fluid, pepper spray and driving vehicles on often peaceful protesters.
McCabe, 32, and Torgalski, 39, “crossed a line”
Officers had been suspended without pay Friday after a TV crew caught the confrontation the night before. If convicted of felony charges, they have up to seven years in prison.
However, Buffalo police officers have stood by their colleagues. On Saturday, a crowd of officers, firefighters and others outside the courthouse met in a show of support for the officers charged and cheered as they were released.
“It was huge, huge to watch,” John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, told WIVB-TV. “I just think it’s a strong indication of the outrage, basically over this travesty.”