Protests calling for changes in local government leadership and justice for Daniel Prude continued for a sixth consecutive night on Monday.
The demonstrations have been calling for change in the wake of the incident last March, when the 41-year-old Prude died after being restrained by police on Jefferson Avenue. Circumstances surrounding his death came to light last week after bodycam video from police who were at the scene was released, and demonstrators have been calling for the resignations of the mayor and police chief, among other changes including defunding the police department and getting more funding for mental health and other services.
On Monday night the protest began at Martin Luther King Jr. Park downtown, and soon after they gathered there, hundreds of people marched through various streets ending up at the Public Safety Building, which has been much of the focus of the recent demonstrations. The protest remained peaceful for the most part, but the mood got more tense as more police in riot gear showed up near the front of the PSB.
That standoff continued after midnight between police and protesters with police declaring it was an unlawful assembly, but most demonstrators remained in front of the PSB for a while, eventually starting to leave the area just before 1:00 a.m.
Rochester Police issued a statement early Tuesday morning saying that the crowd of 600 was “initially peaceful before trying to defeat the barricades.” And RPD says a few people threw bottles at officers, but that the remainder of the protesters began to leave the area at about 1:00 a.m. without further incident. Police thanked community members and elders who helped keep the protest peaceful. There were no arrests reported.
Earlier on Monday evening, it was announced that beginning Tuesday, Rochester City Council will have a regular public briefing with the Mayor and the Police Chief. A statement from City Council said that, “During this heightened state in our community, the Council is calling for briefings concerning any interactions between protestors and police officers as well as an opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns.”
The briefing for Tuesday, September 8 will be at 3:00 PM. Information on subsequent briefings will follow.