Protesters rally at Liberty Pole, march to Public Safety Building over Prude decision
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The activist group Free the People Roc held another protest Wednesday over a grand jury’s decision not to charge the seven officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude.
That protest began on Jefferson Avenue and Dr. Samuel McCree Way, where the incident between Prude and police that resulted in his death in the hospital seven days later occurred. From there, they walked to a police substation on Child and Campbell streets, then entered I-490 from the Child Street exit and walked to the Public Safety Building on Exchange Boulevard.
On Wednesday, the New York State Police warned protesters who continue to walk on the expressway "will be subject to arrest."
Wednesday night’s protest began at 4 p.m. at the Liberty Pole.
They say they will continue to protest until they see action. They’re demanding the Rochester Police Department be de-funded.
Protestors say they are "done making requests." Officers approached them to have a conversation at the start of Wednesday afternoon’s demonstration, but at this point, protestors say a conversation is not enough.
"Coming out here and talking about the protest and Kumbayah with no concessions from them is not acceptable, that’s not what we’re looking for,” Ashley Gantt an organizer from Free The People Roc, said.
#JUSTNOW— Stephanie Duprey (@WHEC_SDuprey) February 24, 2021
RPD officers trying to smooth the waters with protesters who were set to start around 4pm- Officers said they want to have “better communication” with them – protestors aren’t having it and asked them to leave. @news10nbc pic.twitter.com/afC72FueRV
Some of those demands are that RPD be defunded, along with passing other initiatives like Daniel’s Law, to change the response to mental health emergencies.
“We don’t want white civility or a peace mill we don’t want reform anymore, we don’t want it anymore, we want dismantle,” Anthony Hall another organizer, said.
When News10NBC asked protest organizers to explain why they want to defund RPD, they said for many different reasons.
"In the case of Daniel Prude, if a mental health counselor was present, if anyone else except armed white men with guns and badges were present the outcome would have been different for him, and also ending qualified immunity across the state to make sure cops are held accountable in the same way people are held accountable,” Stanley Martin who also helps organize public demonstrations, said.
Free The People Roc says they will be protesting every day until they see change, whether that be marching or any other form.
From the Liberty Pole, they marched to the Public Safety Building.
Protesters went home at around 7 p.m.