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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — U.S. Attorney James Kennedy held a press conference Wednesday related to protests last week in Rochester, gatherings he said turned violent.

Kennedy announced two people were arrested on federal charges for impeding law enforcement during civil disorder. Adam Green, 20, of Dansville, and Dallas Williams Smothers, also 20, of Rochester, each face a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a $250,000 fine.

Kennedy said these arrests took place September 5 when some 1,500 demonstrators protested in downtown Rochester.

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Kennedy says Green swung a wooden shield at an officer and fought with the officer, who had a cut on his nose. Smothers allegedly lit a commercial-grade firework and thew it at police. Kennedy says he was later caught with pouches on his belt containing fireworks. He says the protests were closed down by law enforcement because they went from peaceful to disruptive.

“Some of the protesters were hurling bottles, rocks, and lit fireworks at police,” Kennedy says. “While others were shining damaging lasers into the eyes of the officers who were present on scene. By the result of those actions, RPD declared an unlawful assembly.”

“As today’s arrests and charges suggest, my office and the US Attorneys Office will continue to investigate acts of violence committed at these protests,” says Kennedy.

“To be clear, we are not in any way trying to interfere with or discourage peaceful protests. And while most protests here in Rochester have been non violent, there have been a few agitators who have hijacked the voices of the many,” says Steven Belongia, FBI Special Agent.

Kennedy also expressed his disappointment in Chief La’Ron Singletary’s retirement and said he would miss working with him and the other outgoing command staff members.

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“When you demonize and attack police, there is no incentive left for good and decent people to pursue careers as police officers,” Kennedy said. “We will miss Singletary and command staff.”

U.S. Attorney Office press conference

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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