I’m finally back from taking care of my parents in the Dakotas, having my time there increased by my sister and brother being exposed to COVID+ individuals and having to quarantine (both tested negative in the end). I got back just in time for Rochester to be the center of yet another police homicide of an unarmed black man.
For those of you who’ve missed this one, the short recap is that Daniel Prude was killed in custody on March 23 (he died a week later but he essentially choked to death that night). Here’s a tick-tock from CNN that covers the details of his death, which has been ruled a homicide by the county medical examiner.
His death wasn’t an issue until the family obtained bodycam footage through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request and held a press conference on Wednesday to release it. There have been demonstrations ever since. Last night, a group of protesters with three elected officials at the head was met with pepper balls from the police — one of the elected officials was shot in the head with a pepper ball. This occurred immediately after the police declared that the protest was an unlawful assembly – which, at that point, it clearly wasn’t. After that declaration, the crowd pitched water bottles and other debris at the cops, and the cops shot a number of reporters in the head with pepper balls.
Here’s a shot of another city council member confronting police:
NE District City Councilman Micheal Patterson – photo credit unknown pic.twitter.com/sQ5FPdMOxV
— Brian Sharp (@SharpRoc) September 6, 2020
Throughout this crisis, Mayor Lovely Warren has been, as usual, awful. Her transparently false excuse that she couldn’t make any announcements about Prude’s death because it was being investigated by New York Attorney General Tish James was rebutted by James’ office. The day after a shambolic news conference where she made that claim, Warren suspended all officers involved in Prude’s death.
This afternoon, at another weak news conference, (video link) Warren and Police Chief LaRon Singletary outdid each other in the quest to form words into sentences without conveying meaning. The main announcement at the press conference was that a local pastor was going to form a group of “elders” who would create a buffer between protesters and police. Reverend Myra Brown will lead this group, and volunteered to do it, after protesters sheltered in her church to avoid pepper balls — in other words, she’s pushing Warren to agree to have a set of pastors and community leaders act as human shields.
So, this is where we are right now. The police are so out of control, and Warren is such a weak leader, that someone from the community has to step up to serve as a human shield. I predict injuries, because our cops are as bad as all the rest, which is to say, pretty bad.