Editor’s note: A warning that the video above shows violent imagery and may be offensive to some viewers.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A video of a couple getting assaulted on Monroe Avenue Saturday has gone viral locally, and the man who recorded says it was one of the craziest things he’s ever seen.
Joe Painter is the man who shot the footage in the video above. News 8 caught up with him Sunday to discuss what he witnessed the day prior.
Painter says he was out grocery shopping around 5 p.m.
“I knew there was a protest going on downtown, but I didn’t know it was spilling over,” Painter said.
Painter, a photographer for fun, says he saw a leftover protest sign on a bench on Monroe Avenue across from the Strong National Museum of Play, and he got out of his car to take a photo.
“I turned around, saw people trying to break into some stores, so I just started filming,” Painter said. “The husband and wife came out, they were trying to reason with them. Then all of a sudden it turned violent and it escalated. They just went after the woman, the husband was trying to defend himself with a golf club, and they just went after him with two-by-fours.”
Painter says he was shocked at what he saw.
“I didn’t know things had gotten that crazy, I just thought a protest going on,” he said. “I thought everything was downtown, all that stuff, I thought it was safe to get out of the car and take a photograph, and then all of that started. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.”
Painter said police has contacted him about the video, and he said he will hand over the footage to help the investigation.
Painter said the woman received medical assistance, but didn’t know if she was taken to a hospital.
“That kind of violence, that kind of destruction, does absolutely nothing,” Painter said. “It actually erodes what kind of protest was happening. It was stupid. No reason for that.”
Painter said he made the video public to hopefully bring justice for the husband and wife.
“Part of the reason I made the video and posted, is to get the word out for others to see this, how stupid people are acting and possibly bring justice for that couple.”
This was just one instance of many violent incidents that swept the area Saturday after a peaceful protest turned ugly. Cars being lit on fire, police vehicles vandalized, and tear gas deployed preceded a night of vandalism and looting throughout the city and surround areas.
As a result of the unrest, five people suffered non-life threatening injuries, and 13 people have been arrested. Police officials say more arrests are coming as investigations continue.