Sheriff, GOP Monroe County Clerk candidate trade jabs over planned 490 protest in Rochester

Local Politics

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A planned protest for Sunday in downtown Rochester is catching the attention of Monroe County legislators as well as the Monroe County Sheriff.

According to the Facebook event called “Shut it down! Highway shutdown!” organized by SAVE ROCHESTER-Black Lives Matter, the event will begin at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square at 2 p.m. Sunday and then demonstrators will “take an undisclosed route” to nearby Interstate-490 in an attempt to block the roadways.

The planned protest has since caught the attention Republicans in the Monroe County Legislature. Majority Leader Steve Brew and legislator Karla Boyce, who is also running for County Clerk, released a joint statement Thursday calling on Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter, elected Democrats, to reveal their safety plans.

“I am deeply concerned about the safety of all involved in Sunday’s planned protest,” said Boyce in a statement. “Right here in Monroe County and across the nation, we have seen the negative results when leaders are reactionary rather than proactive in these type of instances. Our law enforcement officers are well-trained and professional, but they need clear directives from our leaders. There needs to be a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety of all involved.”

“At this week’s Monroe County Legislature meeting, we heard from numerous individuals present at the Hilton Black Live’s Matter protest where a vehicle struck a protester,” Brew said in a press release. “If an incident like this can happen in a small village, it’s gravely concerning to think about the potential dangers of a protest on Interstate 490. There cannot be a repeat of the Hilton incident nor can we add to the list of the already 66 national incidents of cars driving into protesters.”

MORE | MCSO releases updated statement regarding protester who was ‘brushed up’ by a car in Hilton

Officials from the the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Thursday said in part:

“MCSO will lend its support to the Rochester Police Department and the New York State Police, as the demonstration is anticipated to move from downtown Rochester to Interstate 490. RPD has primary enforcement responsibility in the City of Rochester. NYSP has primary enforcement responsibility on Interstate 490 within the City of Rochester.

Sheriff Baxter released a statement in response Thursday:

“Where were these two legislators during the recent protests and ensuing conversations throughout the community in the days following the unrest? While I appreciate Ms. Boyce is ‘deeply concerned about the safety of all involved,’ not once did she call to ask questions, not once did she call offering support for our deputies, not once did she call to offer how we can build up the community together. I was with my deputies throughout the evening of May 30, and have continued to be ever since, as we support peaceful demonstrations. I’m leading this police agency and working to build up the community while others play politics. In the future, as professionals, I would hope that we could address these types of matters with conversations rather than press releases.”

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

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