ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester police say 30 men and women were arrested after a downtown protest against Mayor Lovely Warren’s emergency order late Wednesday into early Thursday.
The organized event was called “F— your curfew” on Facebook, in response to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s order that prohibits public gatherings of five or more people between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and indoor gatherings of 10 or more unrelated individuals from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. unless the location is licensed under the state’s alcohol beverage and control law.
MORE | Mayor Warren issues emergency order, no large gatherings at night due to spike in recent gun violence
The Mayor said she enacted the order in response to a recent spike in gun violence, saying since June 1, 70 people have been shot, eight of which were fatal.
The group marched from Martin Luther King, Jr. Park to the area of East Avenue and Alexander Street before returning, where they remained in the park for several hours, according to the Rochester Police Department.
“Rochester Police Officers provided numerous dispersal orders to the group over the span of several hours. Some protesters obeyed the orders and left the park, but others did not. At approximately 2 a.m., officers began arresting individuals who refused to leave the park and follow the emergency order,” RPD officials said in a statement.
According to the statement, no force was used during the arrest and there were no injuries to any protesters or officers.
All protesters were charged with violating New York State Executive Order Law, a class B misdemeanor, and were issued appearance tickets returnable to Rochester City Court at a later date.
Mayor Warren said unless the violence stops, the order will be renewed every five days.
Names, ages and places of residence for those arrested:
Some local legislators have spoken out against the Mayor’s order. Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart wrote the following on Facebook Thursday morning:
“This is outrageous, a violation of protesters’ rights, a waste of resources and an abuse of power.
The mayor is right that do have a terrible problem with violence, and large gatherings can be a recipe for disaster. But there are no easy short-term solutions.
Curfews, are not unpopular. I had a constituent stop me a few days ago while walking the dog to ask for youth curfews. I responded that I don’t think they’re legal. In the 2000s, a youth curfew championed by Councilman Adam McFadden was ruled unconstitutional.
There are serious questions about this particular curfew. The way it is constructed apparently gives police the right to know who is in your house. I also don’t see an end date. What’s more, the public reason given for this curfew was violence, but the written order sites Covid-19.
The mayor noted the violence is a result of the “combination of hopelessness from job losses, the confinement from the pandemic, and the weariness from the high heat that has driven people to act in fear, hate, and hopelessness.”
But this order doesn’t solve any of those issues, and could make anger and boredom worse. We could see real harm in the enforcement, with the criminalization of community members. We saw that last night with the arrest of peaceful protesters.
These arrests had nothing to do with the stated objective of the curfew – stopping violence. Based on what has been reported, these arrests were unnecessary and wrong, and damages trust in our government.”
Shortly before midnight, Rochester City Councilmember Mary Lupien wrote this on Facebook:
“Curfews have been found unconstitutional unless in dire emergencies. This amended Executive Order cites preventing community spread of COVID as the reason for the disallowing gatherings between 11pm and 5am, not gun violence. This is an overreach by our city government.
Harm and violence occur when the basic needs of our communities are not being met. People are feeling desperate in this moment. Families are struggling with rent, food, and child care. We need to invest resources to the Black and Brown communities hardest hit by the pandemic–the same communities that were hurting before the pandemic started.
We know that punitive measures don’t create safety. Criminalizing gatherings will only escalate tension and open the door for more violent interactions between police and Black and Brown community members. Violence is a systemic failure and we need a systemic solution. Instead of more policing, we must reallocate funding to the resources that build strong and stable communities and promote true public safety.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.