Friday, June 12, 2020

What Was Martin Gugino Doing?

I asked this question on Twitter but no one would touch it.

I don't condone or excuse any of the treatment of 75-year old Martin Gugino in Buffalo. He was assaulted, and, then, left to bleed out of his ear, which happened very quickly. At least one police was pushed on past him when he appeared to want to give aid. Granted, a second policeman did seem to be calling in for medical help. Here's the video in slow-motion. I have two questions:


1) Why did Gugino approach the police? That seems unusual in itself.

2) What was he doing with his phone? He appeared to be purposely waving it around the equipment on the mid-section of the police. What was he trying to do?

Again, I do not think anything he did deserves the treatment he received. That said, I'm curious about what he was doing.

Any ideas?

30 comments:

William M. Connolley said...

I'm not even convinced he was really "assaulted". He was certainly pushed, hard; and struck the ground unfortunately; but this isn't comparable to some of the other incidents.

thefordprefect said...

not even convinced he was really "assaulted"

my wife a care worker for the elderly, says you do not push older people - their balance is not good and protective mechanisms not functioning at full speed. The action of the police needs to be moderated by the age of the people they are confronting. You do not baton whip a child, you do not push old people.

as to what he is doing with his phone - no idea. However if he is clever enough to record an rf signal and then to jam it he would have realised that the antennas for the police were on their shoulders not their waists

thefordprefect said...

plus if the police were worried by his phone then why was it left in his position?

J. D. said...

The conspiracy theory that he was an Antifa operative using advanced electronic equipment against the police originated with OANN and then propogated by Trump who tends to believe anything he's just watched on his favorite TV channels. 'Nuff said.

HannahW said...

From observing the clip: his only reason in approaching them was to get at their phones. Possibly trying to use NFC ("Near Field Communications"), which needs phones to be touching or no farther apart than a cm or two. It requires no training, just an installed app.

Known NFC vulnerability published in the past year included eavesdropping and planting malware. Patches are issued when these bugs are discovered, but they say best practice is still to turn NFC off in public - 9 of the 10 top phone brands have it enabled by default.

I would assume official police phones are protected better than average smartphones, but maybe this guy was hoping to get lucky -- or hoping the ones he saw were personal phones.

About his fall... it doesn't look planned, but OTOH the body language is abnormal. Falling backward and smacking your head should cause a reflexive pain reaction - curling or rolling, reaching for the part that hurts. Instead he is seen relaxing, stretching out and even crossing his feet!!
Also normally whatever you're holding goes flying - but he held onto his phone and even kept it from hitting the ground.
I know the man is reported to have brain injury. Just saying what I see.

David in Cal said...

My view of the video is that the policeman pushed this 75-year old man to get him out of the way, not intending to knock him down.

Cheers

OnymousGuy said...

What utter crap these comments are, except sort of from David in Cal.

Stoat, I don’t know UK laws on assault, but here in the US THAT is assault.

For gods’ sakes, the man is on the ground, bleeding from his ear. And HannahW is completely wrong - his hand relaxes and the phone falls to the ground.

As for what he intended, who can say? He could, were he conscious and able to testify.

The reason these acts are abhorrent is because they are the acts by the state, which has far more power than any individual.

An individual could be sued to hell and beyond for the acts committed in this video.

The state and its agents are somewhat immune, but this does not make the actions of the enforcers - whoever they are - less reprehensible.

What the hell are we, the Weimar Republic or some such “sieg, heil” neo-fascist state?

Not Trampis said...

Yes writing from down under he is a frail old man.
yes it is physical assault. no you do not have to touch a phone to do the godds so to speak.
Maybe it was a cornavirus handshake.
It certainly did not look threatening to me.
What is inexplicable is why the poiceman was ushered away when attempting to help the man more so when blood is coming out of his ear.

HannahW said...

Not Trampis: Probably that policeman was ushered away because he wasn't trained as a medic - i.e. by trying to help he might have done additional damage. Especially with evidence of internal bleeding. Within seconds he was replaced by EM people who presumably were trained.

'Assault' applies to the one who makes the first aggressive move. Gugino didn't touch them, but he invaded their personal space suddenly, clearly without their consent, and tried to do something with an electronic device. In the context of crowd control during a week of violence, it's likely police would see that uninvited closeness as aggressive.

The US 'personal-space law' gives anyone the right to defend the area close to their body with a reasonable amount of force, if they believe they are about to receive unwanted contact or suffer injury. So this is about whether the policemen's push against Gugino to get him out of their space was reasonable, or excessive, use of force.

The legal standard of 'reasonable force' is based on what most police officers would do under these circumstances and in the few seconds available to decide. If the incident goes to court we will see what that standard turns out to be.

OnymousGuy: Yes, his hand relaxed after a minute and let the phone slowly slip to the ground. I said it was unusual that he held onto it at all, instead of losing it while flailing his arms from the normal 'save' reflex in a backward fall.
Also remarkable that while unconscious and seriously hurt, he could first hold his phone on his leg, and then gently drop it close to his leg, so the passing cops couldn't step on it.

Most people will only see the very obvious and sensational bits in a video, and will dismiss the stuff around the edges which could be important. Detectives know that. But others are free to disagree.

Layzej said...

Possibly trying to use NFC ("Near Field Communications"), which needs phones to be touching or no farther apart than a cm or two.

Or maybe he had a 5G phone and was giving them COVID.

HannahW said...

Or maybe he had a 5G phone and was giving them COVID.

Or maybe you should take your straw-man sarcasm elsewhere. The blogger asked a serious question, and so far you've contributed less than nothing.

But hey, I don't take it personally when someone gaslights real technology. I understand that it's way easier than actually looking stuff up.

Layzej said...

Hey, 5G is a real technology.

Can you point me to the exploit? I can only find CVE-2019-9295, which isn't applicable in this scenario.

J. D. said...

My theory about what he was doing with his phone was that he just happened to be have it in his hand because he had just been using it. I sometimes do that myself. Then I realised that that is suspicious in itself. Has anyone checked his phone records to see if he had taken a call from George Soros just before this incident? It goes without saying that he had some involvement in this and was most likely directing operations.
As for his fall, Hannah suggests it doesn't look normal but then what is a normal way to fall? Have there been any studies done that would help us distinguish between a real or a fake fall? She did concede he has a brain injury but I found yesterday that some geniuses on the internet had been studying photos of him lying on the ground and had noticed a tube going to his ear so what we all thought was blood was actually fake. That also seems to put the brain injury in some doubt.
Anyway its fun to speculate but I wonder if anyone else is nostalgic for those days when the internet was in its infancy and we thought it would be a force for good and that people would use it as an educational tool? Instead of that it seems to be creating more and more conspiracy theorists.

David Appell said...

JD, to me it looks like Gugino reaches out with his phone towards each officer. I think it's more obvious with the 2nd officer, where he's waving it around that officer's mid-section. He's also perhaps making a point of holding it sideways.

If it's being used as some kind of scanner, does anyone know what app or software enables that functionality?

David Appell said...

But holding the phone sideways might just be simpler, esp because he's a tall man.

J. D. said...

David: a friend of Martin Gugino's said that he knew what he was doing, he had a document open on his phone that he wanted to show the officer. Maybe because he thought it showed he had a legal right to protest. When I read that I went back and viewed the video to see if that checked out. At first I didn't think it did but then I realised that he would have talked to the officer first to explain what he was doing and then raised his phone up for him to view it. So what could have happened is that he explained to him why he was going to show him his phone, the officer stopped just long enough to hear his reason for approaching him but not surprisingly decided he wasn't going to stand there reading his phone and that's when he pushed him. I think you possibly can see him just starting to lift his phone just an instant before he's pushed. I haven't brought this up before because I don't know for sure whether that was what he was doing and obviously a friend of his is likely to be biased. Suggesting that the only reason to approach them was to get at their phones as someone did above is ridiculous though. Hence my sarcasm. Anyway I've been reading your blog for a while David and appreciate the information you provide.

J. D. said...

As for using his phone as a scanner, there is a fact check here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/52984295

HannahW said...

For Layzej -- 5G is real technology, but irrelevant since I didn't bring that up. That's the "straw-man". Giving someone COVID via 5G is "sarcasm" at best (assuming you are reasonably intelligent and know the difference between a bio virus and a cyber virus).

In answer to your more serious response (and for anyone else who is curious) -- NFC uses RFID, like Bluetooth but needs less power, so it can work passively (spy) - and sometimes not so passively (take over the phone). Two representative explanations for the layperson - emphasis added:

--1--"Problems with NFC

Whenever radio frequencies are involved, there's a potential security risk. Could it be possible for an unscrupulous person to eavesdrop on communications between NFC devices? The answer is a resounding yes. With the right antenna, hardware and software, it's possible to snoop on transactions.
Even though NFC transmissions must take place over very short ranges -- 10 centimeters is the maximum distance, with many applications requiring even shorter ranges -- it's possible to pick up transmissions from much further away."
(How NFC Works, from the howstuffworks site)

--2-- "Just by getting a few centimeters from a phone running NFC (Near Field Communications) with a malicious NFC tag you can take control of that phone. Charlie Miller demonstrated the attack at Black Hat [2012 hacker conference] using an Android phone and some test devices he created....
The other [presentation]s raised important concerns, but only Miller's made me cringe. His presentation included a demonstration of the use of a malicious NFC device which, simply when placed close enough to a user's phone, resulted in a complete compromise of the phone, or what security people call 'remote code execution.'"
(NFC Phone Hacking and Other Mobile Attacks, from Information Week IT Network)

Your mention of CVE-2019-9295 proves that as of last fall the malicious NFC tags are still out there, keeping up with newer generations of smart phones. I'm not saying we can know for sure. But the man's behavior in the video makes this a plausible explanation.

HannahW said...

J.D. -- I also thought about the friend's explanation, that Gugino was showing the officers a page on his phone. Problem with that is... he never raised his phone up to their eye level. Not even for a second. He went no higher than their shoulder (in spite of him being taller than them). I just watched one more time to confirm.

"As for his fall, Hannah suggests it doesn't look normal but then what is a normal way to fall? Have there been any studies done that would help us distinguish between a real or a fake fall?"

There are dozens of videos online coaching ordinary people on how to fall without hurting themselves, and they usually first explain the normal reflexes. Example from a professional police coach demonstrating a safe backwards fall: "The tendency when people fall is to reach for it [the ground] with their limbs [throws his hands behind him]. We don't want that." Gugino didn't do that, otherwise he would have let go of his phone.

Interestingly, this coach (aged 60) also recommends slapping the ground with one arm to reduce the impact of the fall. Given the evidence that some antifa protesters are trained for physical confrontation (watch the recent Project Veritas undercover clip), this could explain the resounding "smack" heard from the falling Gugino, which horrified viewers thought was his head but was more likely the helmet in his left hand.

That being said, I seriously doubt the "fake blood" claim. It would mean the police, medics and hospital staff all played along without comment, making them either fools or accomplices to fraud. If he was trained on how to fall, it would seem he remembered the arms but forgot to tuck his head forward.

OTOH I still can't account for him showing no pain response after falling. When you're in pain you curl up and reach for what hurts - a protection reflex. Stretching out and crossing your feet is a leisure pose that goes with "ahh... nice breeze".

David in Cal said...

OFF TOPIC

David, you recently posted a video by an impassioned black woman. Here's another such video, but with a different message. It's painful to watch, but it's important to hear her POV.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1272516778107813890

Layzej said...

Whenever radio frequencies are involved, there's a potential security risk. Could it be possible for an unscrupulous person to eavesdrop on communications between NFC devices?

5G uses radio frequencies too. That is completely irrelevant here though. You're not suggesting the cop was trying to use NFC and the assault victim was trying to spy on him are you?

Charlie Miller demonstrated the attack at Black Hat [2012 hacker conference] using an Android phone and some test devices he created.

Unless the cop had a 10 year old version of Android, he would have had to unlock his phone, click on the scanned tag, then select what action to take with it. Even with a decade old version, he would have still had to have his phone unlocked.

Your mention of CVE-2019-9295 proves that as of last fall the malicious NFC tags are still out there

The exploit isn't in the tag. The cop would have had to download a malicious app.

It seems extremely speculative. I think you'd need to find a zero click exploit for this to be plausible.

David Appell said...

Thanks for the video clip, David.

Just to be clear though, I don't think I've ever tried to justify the rioting and looting.

Martin Luther King Jr said "a riot is the language of the unheard." Looting fruits and vegetables isn't quite the same as stealing large screen TVs. Perhaps people were hungry.

J. D. said...

Hannah: From Project Veritas Wikipedia page.
"Project Veritas is an American right-wing activist group.[1][2][3][4] The group uses "disguises and hidden cameras to uncover supposed liberal bias and corruption".[1] The group is known for producing deceptively edited videos about media organizations and left-leaning groups.[5][2][6][7][8][9][10] In a 2018 book on propaganda and disinformation in U.S. politics, three Harvard University scholars refer to Project Veritas as a "right-wing disinformation outfit
Probably you will say that Project Veritas is more credible than Wikipedia and the sources they reference but I doubt many people believe that. Suggesting he is connected to antififa is more evidence free speculation.
As for the phone being raised, I dealt with that. He would likely have explained that he wanted him to look at something on his phone first rather than just push it in his face. It's unlikely the police officer would have given him a chance as his orders were to clear the area and not stand there reading someone's phone.
Anyway the first thing you said when joining this conversation was that there was only one thing he could have been doing which was getting at their phones and you are now claiming expertise in how someone falls having watched a few videos on the internet. You are determined to insinuate that he was doing something dodgy without evidence and it's obviously pointless trying to reason with you.

OnymousGuy said...

This would seem to curtail, at least until a trial, speculation on whether or not Martin Gugino was assaulted.

75-Year-Old NY Protester Fractured Skull in Cop Shove, Can't Walk: Lawyer

‘A 75-year-old protester who struck his head on pavement after being shoved by police remained hospitalized Tuesday with a fractured skull, his attorney said.

Martin Gugino's lawyer has told media outlets in recent days that he had not yet been able to walk. Attorney Kelly Zarcone said in an email Tuesday there was no change in his condition and that she expects only gradual improvement.

Two Buffalo police officers were charged with second-degree assault after a widely shared video captured Gugino falling to the ground after being pushed on June 4. He was seen bleeding from his head as officers walked away.’

HannahW said...

J.D. -- I would have expected "reasoning with" me to include a bit more than "likely" vs. "unlikely", or the tactic of denying the merits of what I posted by telling me why I posted it.

Free discussion should assume everyone's motive is to figure out the truth, unless they prove otherwise. We all have our biases and blind spots, but that's what real discussion is meant to challenge. If your goal is to protect certain biases from challenge, then yeah, it's pointless to expect help from me.

The idea of individuals "doing something dodgy" in the context of these "mostly peaceful protests" is unfortunately the result of watching the events unfold. There are enough players proving that their motives are not what they are proclaiming. There are mounting contradictions in black-owned businesses being destroyed, blacks being injured or murdered by looters, and black dissenters being shamed, all in the name of "justice for the black community". The Seattle so-called Autonomous Zone is a living, breathing contradiction... and anyone pointing that out is branded as a right-wing loon who is slandering peace and love.

Gugino is part of this dodgy picture, presumably by his own choice (unlike thousands of innocent bystanders). His getting injured in a confrontation with cops shouldn't automatically place his actions above suspicion.

Your ethical code and sense of logic may be able to look at all that and honestly disagree with me, and I grant you that right. In the end the truth will come out, which is all I want to see.

J. D. said...

We all have our biases and blind spots, but that's what real discussion is meant to challenge. If your goal is to protect certain biases from challenge, then yeah, it's pointless to expect help from me.

I didn't expect any help from you nor do I need it. I'm not the one whose first sentence in this conversation said with certainty that they knew what Gugino's motivation was, quote-"From observing the clip: his only reason in approaching them was to get at their phones."
Your justification for your certainty is to post this
The idea of individuals "doing something dodgy" in the context of these "mostly peaceful protests" is unfortunately the result of watching the events unfold. There are enough players proving that their motives are not what they are proclaiming. There are mounting contradictions in black-owned businesses being destroyed, blacks being injured or murdered by looters, and black dissenters being shamed, all in the name of "justice for the black community". The Seattle so-called Autonomous Zone is a living, breathing contradiction... and anyone pointing that out is branded as a right-wing loon who is slandering peace and love.

I can see absolutely nothing there that shows that his "only reason in approaching them was to get at their phones". Nor that he deliberately fell in an abnormal way to discredit the police. You just continually speculate as if you just saying that something is possible means that was what he was doing.
Also nobody on this thread has accused you of being a right-wing loon. The only mention of right wing was my quote from Wikipedia about a video you suggested was credible.

Layzej said...

Whenever someone is assaulted or killed by the police there are always those who will suggest he deserved it. That is a dangerous presumption. Here we're presuming "his only reason in approaching them was to get at their phones" and that even his fall was suspicious. That is just plain wrong and verges on conspiratorial thinking.

David Appell said...

Recent News:

"Buffalo protester Martin Gugino has a fractured skull and cannot walk," CNN 6/16/18.
https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/16/us/martin-gugino-protester-skull/index.html

HannahW said...

J.D.: I can see absolutely nothing there that shows that his "only reason in approaching them was to get at their phones".

I got that impression from the clip, time-mark 0:20-21. Cop on the right has made contact with Gugino on the shoulder. Gugino is dividing his efforts between staying on his feet, and keeping his phone pointed sideways close to the cop's belt.

I saw it and concluded that being so focused, this must be why he approached them. You can keep calling it speculative, which it definitely is. We are ALL speculating here.

Beyond that, you might want to read my comments more slowly before your reply.

I never said or hinted that "he deliberately fell in an abnormal way to discredit the police." In fact I said the opposite: the fall "doesn't look planned."

I did say the body language didn't look normal for a fall. I can't understand why that is, and I said so. Someone asked what is "normal" and I answered by quoting a recognized expert. (Note: That's the opposite of "claiming expertise" myself.)

"Also nobody on this thread has accused you of being a right-wing loon." Never said that. It was my comment about watching "the events unfold" across the US.

People are welcome to explain why they disagree with me. They are not entitled to put words in my mouth.

For my part, I will quit the speculations now and watch the developments. Wishing a full recovery for Martin, a fair trial for the Buffalo cops, and a new beginning for America.

J. D. said...

Hannah said: "I never said or hinted that "he deliberately fell in an abnormal way to discredit the police." In fact I said the opposite: the fall "doesn't look planned."

Yes but after you said it didn't look planned you wrote but OTOH the body language is abnormal. Falling backward and smacking your head should cause a reflexive pain reaction - curling or rolling, reaching for the part that hurts. Instead he is seen relaxing, stretching out and even crossing his feet!!
Also normally whatever you're holding goes flying - but he held onto his phone and even kept it from hitting the ground.
I know the man is reported to have brain injury. Just saying what I see."


Saying but after the bit about it not looking planned followed by several reasons why it didn't look normal looks to be a bit more than a hint to me. In a later post you mentioned an unnamed "police coach", trained Antifa operatives and Project Veritas. That isn't "quoting a recocognized expert"

Wishing a full recovery for Martin, a fair trial for the Buffalo cops, and a new beginning for America.

We can certainly agree on all of that.