Naked protesters gather in front of City Hall

Sep 10, 2020

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

For the second time this week, naked, or near-naked protesters have gathered in a public space in Rochester to show support for issues raised by Free The People Roc and other social justice groups in recent days.

The protests began last week when video surfaced of the way Daniel Prude was treated. Police were called to look for him last March by his brother, when Daniel was having a mental health crisis.

Prude was pinned to the pavement by officers on Jefferson Avenue. He lost consciousness and died a week later. The death was ruled a homicide. Several officers were suspended with pay and a state grand jury will investigate.

More than a dozen protesters gathered early Thursday morningon the steps of  City Hall, wearing spit hoods, the kind of device police put on Prude when they restrained him in March.

Betty Wolfanger was among those who helped organize the protest on Monday morning.

“This is a man who was in need, who was in a crisis and he was so incredibly vulnerable and all it would have taken is a little bit of compassion to treat this man with the dignity that he deserved.” Wolfanger said that overall, the recent protests, “definitely have brought more attention to Rochester and I think that we’ve done a good job of supporting the mission of the Black Lives Matter  groups and I hope that we see some movement in the areas that we really need.”

As they did during a similar protest at the Public Safety Building on Monday, the protest at City Hall on Thursday was done to call attention to proposed state legislation including having a law that police no longer respond to mental health calls and also calling for a ban on the use of force against peaceful protesters.

The protesters also want passage of Cariol's Law, which would require on or off-duty law enforcement to intervene in instances of abuse or misconduct.