ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Police Accountability Board announced Tuesday it is launching an oversight investigation into the Rochester Police Department’s response to gatherings and protests in the city after the deaths of George Floyd and Daniel Prude.
The announcement came as part of a Tuesday City Council work session and quarterly meeting with the Board.
“We thought about the many complaints our community has made about RPD’s response to mass gathering situations,” said Arlene Brown, a Board member, during the PAB’s presentation.
The first oversight hearing, during which RPD Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan is scheduled to present updated protest-related policies for the department, is scheduled for February 11. According to the Board, members will then have the chance to ask the Chief questions.
“We will obtain expert testimony to help us assess the RPD’s work in this area to ensure it keeps all Rochesterians safe,” said Danielle Tucker, a member of the Board.
Police received criticism after using tear gas and pepper balls on crowds last year. In one instance, after a Sept. 4 protest, the department asserted those methods were used to protect the safety of officers.
“A group of agitators began hurling commercial grade fireworks directly at officers standing on the opposite side of the intersection,” the department said in a statement following the protest, “In order to prevent serious physical injury to both officers and spectators, officers deployed tear gas at approximately 12:05 am in an attempt to disperse the crowd.”
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The City of Rochester’s director of communications, Justin Roj, released a statement Tuesday evening saying:
“The Police Accountability Board was established for the purpose of providing an independent review of police matters and conduct. Any review into such matters are aligned with their purpose and our police department will work with them to ensure they have the information they need.”
— Justin Roj, Director of Communications & Special Events, City of Rochester
Watch the Rochester Police Accountability Board’s Tuesday meeting:
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.