Activists’ rally today will protest RPD action

Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard. FILE PHOTO

BY JEREMY MOULE

A group of activists have organized a rally for this afternoon to protest, among other things, the police response to a march over the weekend.

The rally starts at 5 p.m. at Washington Square Park and will be followed by a march to City Hall. In a press release, organizers say they applied for a permit but the police department denied their request. Police have a history of breaking up protest marches on city streets due to lack of permits.

In general, the rally is a response to “various abuses committed by the Rochester Police Department in recent months,” says the press release sent out by the organizers. Among the examples they cite:

  • The police fatal shooting of Israel Andino in June. Media reports say that Andino had bipolar disorder and hadn’t been taking his medication. He was pacing the street with a long gun and fired on officers. Family members questioned why the department didn’t deploy its Emotionally Disturbed Persons Response Team, which is made up of specially trained officers.
  • The arrests of 18 protestors on Saturday. The protestors say that police had been escorting the march and gave them no warnings or orders to disperse before the arrests began.
  • Officers’ use of “chemical agents” as they broke up a house party recently.

At City Hall, the marchers plan to issue three demands: they want Chief James Sheppard dismissed, charges against the 18 arrested protestors dropped, and civilian review board to be given subpoena power.

12 comments

  1. Bill Brown · · Reply

    The protestors over the weekend planned the march in violation of the law, obstructed traffic and emergency vehicles. Had people at different positions along the march route to notify others of where they would encounter police. These arrests could have been avoided by marching on the sidewalks, but that was not the intention of the Occupy group. They should have been arrested and the police did their job.

  2. Havahd St · · Reply

    Shut up hippes! Don’t cause trouble and you won’t get any! Stop blocking my streets, I just want to enjoy my weekend after a long week of work!

  3. I think that it is important to teach young people that they do have a right to protest, and do have the right of free speech, and that they should exercise those rights. After all, we do not want to be a nation of deaf, dumb, and blind sheep. Although I may feel that protesting against capitalism is a little silly, I defend their right to do so, just as I defend your right to express your opinion.

  4. bengtnorgaard · · Reply

    The “Occupy” movement seemed promising initially but they ultimately seemed to have no good ideas or if they did an inability to express them or put them into action. The stint in Washington Square Park was largely embarrassing. Let’s hope they can get some thoughtful members who can revive the early promise.

  5. Bill Brown – out of curiosity, is there any activity with which Conservatives disagree which ISN’T the result of a conspiracy?

    1. Bill Brown · · Reply

      Chaim, I did not call this a conspiracy here. I said the police did their job and the Occupy organization did plan this demonstration out with the reality that they were breaking the law. As I mentioned, they did not have to break the law to conduct this march…..

  6. Donna Brown · · Reply

    I am curious as to why a permit was not granted for the protest march. If it was a matter of not wanting to be bothered/inconvenienced by the protesters… well, I would think that would be an infringement on their constitutional rights. Whether we love it or not, I think that those in a position of authority must respect those rights and work cooperatively with protesters. It disheartens me to see our police officers spraying basically good people in the face with mace or physically harming them in any way. Shouldn’t we be reserving that sort of thing for dangerous criminals? I thought we were better than that.

    1. Bill Brown · · Reply

      Page couldn’t we apply what you stated, to the protesters? “I think that those in a position of authority must respect those rights and work cooperatively with protestors”, could read, “I think that citizens must respect the law and work within the law to present their free speech arguments for change”. Could not the protesters present their arguments for change from the sidewalk and not block the roads????? In regards to the mace per the tape I only saw one person reacting to the mace spray. I did not see if the individual resisted arrest and cannot give a reasonable opinion about those who were sprayed. Were you there that you could give an opinion? Donna I don’t know where a dangerous criminal starts and non-dangerous criminal begins – these folks broke the law, 18 were arrested for disorderly conduct and not all were sprayed with mace as far as I know. There were probably 150 who marched per reports…..

      1. Donna Brown · ·

        Bill, no I was not present, but I have carefully looked at what video is available, and I am not defending their walking in the street if they were instructed not to. However, I do not feel the police can defend the use of mace in this kind of situation. The job of the police is to serve and protect all our citizens. No one has greater respect for the police than I do. I have close family who are currently or are retired officers. I know very well what a tough job it is. I want all our police to be our knights in shinning armor rather than people we are fearful of. I want them to be able to rise above personal feelings of annoyance or anger and consider who they are dealing with. It is so important to the safety and well being of us all.

      2. I was there. Mace was used excessively on many people. I also saw police beating at least one protester with his club. We were being civilly disobedient for being in the street, and so arrests can be expected. Thats part of civil disobedience. It’s the violence that was brutal and unnecessary. I’d like to point out also that once the marchers saw the line of police, we moved onto the sidewalk. It wasn’t until then that they started spraying, beating, and arresting people. After we became compliant with the law. No order to disperse was ever given. No unlawful assembly was ever announced. The police saw an opportunity to hurt some people, and they took it.

  7. It was not an Occupy event.

    1. Bill Brown · · Reply

      It it were not an Occupy event, then it was organized by Occupy leadership, and it just happened on the same day as other Occupy actions occurred around the country. Participants were dressed like those of the occupy activist. What a coincidence????

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