Long-time downtown Rochester store raided and robbed during protest

Berkeley Brean
Updated: May 31, 2020 12:12 AM
Created: May 30, 2020 11:06 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — When so many businesses failed downtown, the one that was always remained open was Villa, a clothing store at the corner of East Main Street and East Avenue. 

Now, they became one of the stores raided on a day that had begun with a peaceful protest against police treatment of African-Americans. 


Saturday evening, dozens of people ran through broken doors and windows of the store. Our camera captured one woman jumping out of an SUV and run towards the store. Less than a minute later, our camera recorded the same woman run back to the same SUV with her arms full of clothes. 

She wasn't alone. Our video shows dozens of people running in and out of the store with clothes and boxes of shoes. 

One of the organizers of the protest earlier Saturday came to the intersection after RPD formed a line in front of the store to keep people out. 

Brean: "Do you see a difference between what's happening here this evening and what you helped organize this afternoon?"

Ashley, protest organizer: "No, I don't see a difference. I'm sorry I got tear gas in my eye and it's still burning. At the end of the day our bottom line is the same thing. We're tired of seeing black and brown people killed in the streets."
One father of six called other fathers to come downtown to break this up. 

William Robinson: "Some fathers. Fifty to 100 fathers here in the city of Rocheste,r to help me disperse the crowd at the end of this process so the police don't have to."
At least one father rode his bike downtown to help him. 

Eventually, police pushed the people away from the store and towards Parcel 5 on Main Street. The RPD mounted police came from the side on East Avenue. The police fired pepper balls into the ground in front of the crowd of people and they dispersed through Parcel 5. 

News10NBC is working on finding out if any of the people who broke into and stole from the store are arrested. We are also going to try to talk to the store owner. 

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