Rochester police say demonstrators escalated Thursday night scene

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester Police are denying accusations by Daniel Prude activists that they were the ones who escalated a situation on Thursday night, instead saying their actions happened only after demonstrators turned the scene violent.

The denial, which came in the form of a video and a press release that said that one state trooper and three Rochester officers had been injured in Thursday’s clashes, was in many ways in reaction to claims by activists earlier in the day.

During that press conference, activists slammed RPD’s use of pepper spray and similar methods, with one, Ashley Gantt, explicitly saying that the RPD used "chemical weapons against peaceful protesters." The activists also released a list of demands including the resignation of certain local decision-makers including Police Chief La’Ron Singletary.

Police say that the video shows a different story and accuse the activists of spread "misinformation." The video shows police standing well back from the crowd until protesters try to breach barricades at the public safety building despite commands for them to stay back.

Only when they didn’t, the police say, did they try to push them back with pepper spray. When protesters responded by throwing objects such as bottles and rocks, police say they only then responded with pepperballs and spray.

The department says that their mission was to protect the right to peacefully assemble and claim they even tried to deescalate the situation by backing into the building before they had to direct the crowd back. T