Hundreds gathered in downtown Rochester in peaceful Black Lives Matter protest

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Hundreds gathered in downtown Rochester on Friday to remember George Floyd and call for an end to police brutality.

To prepare for the large crowds, Monroe County Offices were closed, flags were removed, and barricade were set up blocking the streets.  The Rochester Chief of Police and Monroe County Sheriff spoke with protester briefly at the start of the rally, but no contact between protesters and police was needed as the crowd sang out their message.

Protestors filled the street, chanting,” Black Lives Matter” as well as many names of black Americans who have been killed by police brutality.

Later protesters laid or sat on the ground for eight minutes — the same amount of time former police officer Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed on the pavement.

Lined outside of the county office building, protestors chanted “take a knee” encouraging the officers guarding the building to knee with them.

While many came here to remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor was a focus of the event. Taylor was killed by police back in March, in her own home, and Friday would have been her 27th birthday.

“I just can picture her living her last day and going to bed like normal and not waking up and just a couple months later, she would’ve turned 27 and that’s just completely tragic,” Protester Brianna Kifer said.

“People like me, people like Breonna, people like us are dying in our homes, in the streets and it’s not okay. Whatever happens as a result of that is because of the injustice that’s happening to people of color.”

“People who are looting are not here right now,” Protest Organizer Sam Tequir said. “Everyone whose a part of this movement is right here with us, and they’re continuing to join us here to sit out here in the heat and the sun because this is the movement we believe in and it’s not going anywhere.”

Also on Friday afternoon, staff and caregivers at Strong Memorial Hospital walked outside to the main parking loop on Elmwood Ave., and kneeled in “silent reflection.”

MORE | Mayor Warren releases statement addressing protests, rioting and changes within local organizations

The city identified more than 80 buildings that were looted or vandalized last weekend. That’s why the local government isn’t taking any chances.

In a statement, County Executive Adam Bello announced several County office buildings will close Friday adding, “This action is being taken in anticipation of large demonstration in the vicinity tomorrow. The related noise and potential road closures could affect the ability of County employees to complete their duties. Instead, employees who report to these two buildings are preparing to work from home.”

The Regional Transit Center is also planning to adjust their schedules should demonstrations go awry. You can check for any changes here.

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