Free the People Roc

Protesters march on DA Doorley’s office

Oct 22, 2020
Gino Fanelli / CITY

A few dozen protesters marched to the office of Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley in downtown Rochester on Thursday, demanding both her resignation and that charges against protesters arrested in previous demonstrations be either dropped or reduced.

Organized by Free the People Roc, about 30 people marched from City Hall to the District Attorney’s Office on Fitzhugh Street. The demonstration was peaceful from both the side of protesters and police, and no arrests were made.

A group of pastors and faith leaders has published a letter in regards to the recent protest movement led by Free the People Roc. They're planning a Friday event, and they join us to discuss how they see the demands from the protest leaders, as well as the current climate in the Rochester region.

Our guests:

James Brown / WXXI News

Organizers with the activist group Free The People Roc are responding to events that happened Tuesday involving arrests after protests including one at the Public Safety Building downtown..

Protesters showed up at that building Tuesday night demanding information about a protester who was arrested in Webster earlier in the day during a protest.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Frustration boiled in the spring in reaction to George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and other police-involved deaths of Black people elsewhere. 

Those deaths motivated action on just about every level of Rochester, from a newly minted government commission on structural racism to mass protests in the streetsKevin Myles has seen this before. He’s the southeast regional director of the national NAACP and works with 600 branches between Mississippi and the Atlantic Coast. Myles said different generations often use different tactics when civil rights-related protests erupt. 

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News


Roughly fifty protesters gathered outside City Hall Monday afternoon and marched to the Monroe County District Attorney’s office, calling on D.A. Sandra Doorley to resign.

Stanley Martin, an organizer with Free the People Roc, said that Doorley’s policies are racist and hurt people like Daniel Prude, who suffocated in police custody during a mental health arrest in March.

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

A 24/7 demonstration outside Rochester City Hall has ended, but for protesters it was one part of a much larger movement that is still gaining momentum.

On the first evening of Occupy City Hall, Michelle Dore, a white mother, watched over her three-year-old son as he played with other children along a blocked Church Street in front of City Hall.

Free the People Roc has called for a temporary pause to daily or nightly protests in Rochester. Their goal is to rest and prepare for the next phase of work to enact significant and lasting change. So what is the end goal? Are their demands negotiable? Can they work with the mayor, after calling for Mayor Warren's resignation?

Our guest joins us for her first conversation on Connections since the story of Daniel Prude went public. Ashley Gantt was recently profiled by City Newspaper for her work in organizing, and now she's one of the most visible leaders in Rochester. Our guest:

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

Protesters occupied the outside of City Hall from morning into the night on Tuesday calling for justice for Daniel Prude.

In March, Prude was having a mental health crisis when his brother called 911. Officers pinned him to the ground and he suffocated. He died a week later.

Daniel’s brother Joe Prude, who made the 911 call, says that he’s tired of waiting for the officers who arrested and restrained his brother to be arrested and fired.

Gino Fanelli / CITY

There has been more than a week of protests and rallies in Rochester since the public learned of the March death of Daniel Prude.

Prude is the 41-year-old Chicago man who was visiting his brother in Rochester. His brother, Joe Prude, called police because Daniel was having a mental health crisis, and they eventually found him running naked on Jefferson Avenue. Officers pinned him to the pavement, he lost consciousness and died a week later. The death was ruled a homicide.

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.