ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local organizations Hilton BLM ROC, Community Justice Initiatives and Save Rochester all gathered outside of Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter’s home on Sunday morning protesting the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office response to what they say was a hit-and-run incident during a local protest in June.
About 75 to 100 people gathered in Hilton on Saturday morning, June 13, for a Black Lives Matter protest and according to the MCSO, a protester was “brushed up” by a car.
“The operator of the vehicle was cooperative with deputies. This incident was not intentional against the protester, but rather confusion on the part of the driver who was alarmed by the protesters in the street. No charges will be filed,” a statement from the MCSO said.
MORE | MCSO releases updated statement after car ‘brushed up’ against protester at Hilton BLM ROC protest
However, protestors argue that the deputies are misrepresenting the severity of the situation and have called for charges against the driver.
We are enraged at the fact that one of our peaceful protesters was plowed over by an agitated driver during a Black Lives Matter protest. What is more infuriating is that law enforcement has failed to hold the driver accountable for his actions. It is a familiar story of white privilege, wherein white men are excused from being held accountable for their reckless behaviors.
— Statement from protest organizers
“I felt let down but my community, by the town i’ve grown up in. I felt unsafe. Americans have a right to peacefully protest and that’s what we were there to do,” a statement from the woman who was hit read.
“We as a community need to come together and demand why Baxter takes the word of one 20-something-year-old young man, over a crowd of upstanding citizens who pay their taxes, who work in political places, who are lawyers, who are doctors who are teachers, who are everyday citizen who serve their community,” Protestor Cherriesse Marie said.
The statement from the organizers outlined three specific demands:
Black Lives Matter Demands for Justice Concerning Emma
1. Todd Baxter and the Monroe County Sheriff’s office needs to immediately retract all erroneous statements made in regards to this hit-and-run investigation and publicly apologize for their errors.
2. The assailant who struck Emma with his vehicle needs to be charged immediately.
3. Emma needs to feel supported by the Monroe County Sheriff’s department in navigating through this very tumultuous and traumatic course of events.
According to the statement from deputies, the driver cooperated with the investigation. News 8 WROC has reached out to the MCSO for comment regarding the protest and the incident, but have not heard back.