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RPD chief responds to first night of protests about Daniel Prude

Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan is pleased with the way the protests -- over the lack of a grand jury indictment in connection with the Daniel Prude case -- proceeded on Tuesday night.

Herriott-Sullivan said that the protesters handled themselves well, and there were no injuries and no arrests.

"When people are peacefully protesting and no laws are being violated, and nobody’s getting hurt, our response is minimal, there’s nothing for us to do," Herriott-Sullivan said. "I enjoyed seeing that people were able to protest and get their points across."

The chief said that the RPD would only use something like tear gas as a last resort, such as when public safety and lives are in jeopardy. There were complaints about tactics involving chemical agents and other aggressive actions taken by police during protests over racial justice issues in September.

Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said police officials have talked with local activists in recent weeks.

“We talked to many of the protesters offline, we had different meetings and heard their thoughts and concerns about what had happened before, and so we just wanted to make sure that we didn’t revisit that,” Herriott-Sullivan said, adding that people have a right to protest and should be able to do that safely.

Police officers did square off with protesters Tuesday night initially at a police station on Child Street and the Public Safety Building, but officers later went back inside the buildings leaving a minimal number of officers outside.

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.