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Thousands march through downtown Rochester

Thousands march through downtown Rochester Friday night.
Gino Fanelli/CITY
Thousands march through downtown Rochester Friday night.

More than 2,000 people marched through downtown Rochester Friday, after many of them had assembled earlier in the evening at Martin Luther King Jr. Park earlier in the evening to call attention to the death of Daniel Prude. The 41 year old died in March, after police had been called to help by his brother because Daniel Prude had been experiencing mental health issues. His brother, Joe Prude, was among those addressing the rally in MLK Park earlier on Friday evening.

The situation came to light this past week when police bodycam video was released showing Daniel Prude, who was running down the street naked, being pinned to the roadway by officers, with a hood, called a 'spit sock,' placed over his head. He became unconscious and died a week later.

Ashley Gantt is an organizer with the local chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union and at the rally at MLK Park she noted that there were people attending the protest from all over the state.

"These are the people putting their bodies and their lives on the line every single day. These people are the people whose children sacrificed their time because we’re out here doing this work for the generations to come behind us," Gantt said.

Another local activist and organizer, Stanley Martin said that, "I am tired of seeing people look like me die at the hands of state sanctioned violence. We are willing to occupy this city, we are willing to occupy this police station and we are willing to remove Mayor Lovely Warren."

Warren said earlier this week she was not made aware of the extent of officers’ actions in the March 23 incident involving Daniel Prude until August. And on Thurday, she announced that 7 officers  were being suspended with pay while the investigation goes on. The NYS Attorney General’s office is also investigating.

Rochester Police say that they arrested a total of 11 people on charges including rioting, disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly. They say that three officers suffered injuries as a result of projectiles and incendiary devices and all three were treated at the hospital and released. There was no immediate information provided about injuries to people who were demonstrating.

Police say that more than 2,000 people were marching through the downtown area. They say that at about 10:45pm, due to people throwing rocks, bottles and other debris, they began dispersing the crowd and used pepper balls and pepper spray to do that.

RPD says the only time they used tear gas was when some people began hurling commercial grade fireworks directly at officers near Court St. and South Clinton Avenue.

There were also scattered reports of damage to some buildings in the downtown area and East End but no details have been provided on that yet.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.