The group B.L.A.C.K., which stands for Building Leadership And Community Knowledge, held a press conference on July 12, to highlight discrepancies in statements the organization said police made following a protest the group held July 8.
“There have been significant discrepancies, and false statements provided by Mayor Warren and Chief Ciminelli regarding the events of July 8,” officials from the organization stated. “These statements have not only tried to minimize the reckless actions of the Rochester Police Department, but also attempted to justify their behavior, and inhibit the community’s ability to exercise their first amendment rights.”
Over 70 people were arrested during Friday’s protest, including two black journalists, 13 WHAM’s Carlet Cleare and Justin Carter, who were also arrested and briefly detained.
Initially, police said they’d made no contact with protesters during the peaceful demonstration, until around 9:45 p.m. when authorities decided to disperse the group.
However, according to B.L.A.C.K. officials, demonstrators first encountered police in front of the Strong Museum of Play as early as 6:15 p.m. that evening, where one protester was arrested, and others had been struck by police.
B.L.A.C.K. officials have demanded the dismissal of all charges against the individuals who were arrested during the protest, as well as a retraction from Mayor Lovely Warren and Chief Michael Ciminelli regarding the officers’ use of force during the protest.
The group has also asked the RPD to release the names of the officers who assaulted the protesters, and to discipline those officers accordingly.
B.L.A.C.K. officials have also called for the creation of a civilian review board to review residents’ complaints against police officers in the future.