Seventy-four people were arrested Friday, during peaceful protests which took place in response to the police-involved shootings that happened in Louisiana and Minnesota last week.
Following about five hours of demonstrating, Rochester Police Department Officers in riot gear began arresting the protesters at around 9:45 p.m., when the group sat down in the middle of East Ave.
“There were 74 arrests for disorderly conduct,” Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli stated. “There were also two charges for resisting arrest.”
Ciminelli said the crowd numbered about 400 people at the time the officers began making the arrests.
In addition, two black journalists, 13 WHAM’s Carlet Cleare and Justin Carter, were also arrested and briefly detained during the protest, an incident for which Ciminelli and Mayor Lovely Warren later apologized.
“I apologize for that. They were there trying to do their job to cover this event,” Ciminelli stated.
Police have currently reported that, of those individuals who were arrested, 44 were white, 23 were African American, three were Hispanic, one was Asian, and three individuals’ ethnicities were unknown.
None of the protesters are currently in custody; however, 52 have been issued appearance tickets, five have been released on bail, and 17 were released after Saturday morning court arraignments.
During a press conference Saturday, the RPD, and Mayor Warren touted the fact that the officers did not use tear gas, batons, or Tasers to disband the demonstration; however, in conflicting reports, protesters have alleged that police used pepper spray, and force, to break up the protest.
“We do recognize that there are things that we can improve on,” Warren stated. “And, as we go through this process, and through our review, we will do that.”
Following Friday’s march, city residents held yet another peaceful protest Sunday, led by local youth, which began at Liberty Pole Way in downtown Rochester, and ended at City Hall.
Zaire Downs, 12, and his brother, organized the march, according to reports.
“Usually we get pushed out of the conversation, but it affects us too,” Downs stated.
Additional marches were also held in Louisiana, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and New York City over the weekend.