UPDATE 5:00 PM SATURDAY
The Rochester Police Department has released additional information about Friday’s Black Lives Matter protest.
According to the police, there were a total of 74 Disorderly Conduct Arrests, however, there were only 73 people involved because one person was arrested twice. They say there was also three people charged with Resisting Arrest.
Police say that there were no reports of injury to any person arrested.
Police are reporting that of those arrested, 44 were Caucasian, 23 were African American, three were Hispanic, three were unreported or unknown and one was Asian.
Police also said 38 were male and 36 were female.
UPDATE 3:30 AM SATURDAY
Rochester police wearing full riot gear responded to a Black Lives Matter protest Friday. 76 people were arrested, most for disorderly conduct.
The protest began Friday at 4 pm with a rally at the Liberty Pole downtown. It ended around 1 am Saturday with a sit-in on East Avenue at Alexander. Police Chief Michael Ciminelli says more than 100 officers responded to the protest . He noted that at the beginning of the rally, police officers were wearing their regular uniforms. However as tensions rose they called in backup, and more officers responded in full protective gear.
The majority of the arrests began around 9pm, when protesters refused to clear the streets. Ciminelli says they took action in part because of limited police resources in the city. At that point, the department was relying on help from other police agencies to respond to emergency calls elsewhere in the city. But, Ciminelli also said he believes some people wanted to be arrested for their cause.
At an early morning news conference at the Public Safety Building, Ciminelli and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren defended the actions of police, but said they would review what occurred. Among those arrested were two black journalists. Both Ciminelli and Warren apologized for their arrests and called it a mistake.
Ciminelli says they facilitated the protest, which included a walk through several downtown streets, He says they also tried to contact protest organizers prior to the rally, but got different information from different organizers. He says much of the police response was ramped up in the wake of the shooting of five police officers in Dallas Thursday.
Some minor injuries were reported.
You can watch the entire news conference from the mayor and chief on News 8’s Facebook page.
UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: Protesters briefly came face-to-face with police in riot gear at the entrance to the Strong Museum of Play.
As the march continued down Chestnut Street, police blocked off the entrance to the museum. Protesters stayed in front of the line of cops for around 15 to 20 minutes, chanting.
It appeared police were attempting to keep protesters away from private property. The protest, which was pre-planned, remained peaceful the entire time.
As the line of police advanced, protesters began to disperse and eventually returned to the Liberty Pole.
ORIGINAL:People gathered at the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester on Friday afternoon for a rally for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, who were both shot and killed by police officers this week.
This rally was planned well before the events that occurred on Thursday night in Dallas. Rochester organization B.L.A.C.K. is organizing the march.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Liberty Pole for a rally, and then started to march towards the Transit Center.
During rallies in the past, protestors have taken over streets and essentially shut down the Transit Center.
Organizers addressed the crowd before they started to march, explaining how they are trying to demonstrate power as a collective, and say they will not tolerate lone wolves that stray from their peaceful message.
“It takes work. It takes people being uncomfortable. It takes people experiencing things, different things than they are used to, every day,” said Fredrick Douglass of B.L.A.C.K. “It’s going to take a lot of these types of things.”