ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As leaders around the world react to the unrest and violence that took in D.C. on Wednesday, local Black Lives Matter activists are comparing the police response in the nation’s capital to what we saw right here in Rochester during protests over Daniel Prude’s death.
Many activists and protest leaders here say the discrepancy is a disgrace, noting that the riot only emphasizes the need for a change in our community.
“We’re concerned and I’m speaking as a black man, as an advocate,” said Rashad Smith, of Causewave Community Partners.
Violent and divisive images played out for hours, as hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol.
In the aftermath, some lawmakers are calling for the 25th Amendment to force president Trump from office. Many other leaders, including those with Free the People Rochester, are questioning the police response compared to Black Lives Matter protests.
Here in Rochester, during the summer police and protesters clashed as hundreds took to the street in marches over Daniel Prude’s death.
“Many people are enraged about the response of the lack there of from what has occurred on Capitol Hill, versus…the response from the government and local enforcement agencies as it relates to the killing of George Floyd and of course Daniel prude right here in Rochester,” said Smith.
“That’s really upsetting. I just recall in the heat of things during the BLM marches and protests just being frantic,” said Reenah Golden, Avenue Blackbox Theatre.
Leaders with Free The People Rochester are also reflecting on the way incidents like this are reported and shared through news, conversations, and social media, saying the language used has the potential to further divide or unite the community.
“Be mindful of some of the language that could be harmful, any ableist language and any that could compare what they did yesterday to any type of protester, because what they did yesterday was not any type of protest,” said Brianna Clark, Free The People ROC Advocate.
The group said it starts by having a conversation, but the next step is consequence brought to those who contributed in yesterday’s riots against the Capitol.