by WorldTribune Staff, September 7, 2020
The mayor of Rochester, New York had church elders act as a “buffer” between the city’s police and rioters on Sunday night, reports say.
Mayor Lovely Warren said she and local pastor Myra Brown came up with a plan to have about 50 “elders” form a line of “peaceful defense” between the police and the rioters who were rampaging over the death of Daniel Prude, the New York Post reported.
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said at a press conference with the mayor that local authorities had “credible information one of the areas [marchers] want to target is a symbolic feature” — the town’s public-safety building, which houses its police department.
“[We] are calling on the elders of this city and our community to meet at [Brown’s] church” at 6:30 p.m., Warren said, adding that the local government would help out by transporting community leaders around, according to footage of the press conference by local WHEC-TV.
“They will stand as the buffer between our protesters and our police department,” the mayor said of the “elders.”
The Rev. Brown said: “We elders have volunteered to put our bodies on the line to make sure that that happens because this community needs to unrestrictedly be able to walk these streets, be able to make the demands that they want to make and to be able to go home without pepper spray or pepper balls in their eyes.”
Three police officers were injured and nine people arrested during the rioting over Prude’s death. Cops fired tear gas and pepper balls into the crowd of at least 1,500, while they were battered by bottles and commercial-grade fireworks by rioters who refused to disperse.
Prude, a 41-year-old black man, died in March after an encounter with Rochester cops in which they put a mesh “spit hood” over his head after he reportedly suffered a mental breakdown on the street.
Both the mayor and police chief added that they have no plans to resign, amid growing calls for them to do so.