Rochester Mayor Brings in Church Elders to Act as Human Shields During Black Lives Matter Protest

Rochester, New York Mayor Lovely Warren (D) has brought in about fifty local church elders to act as human shields between Black Lives Matter protesters and police. Rochester has been beset by riots the past few nights over just released video of the death of a Black man, Daniel Prude, while being restrained by police back in March.

Mayor Lovely Warren, screen image via MSNBC.

Warren made the announcement at a press conference earlier Sunday with the chief of police and a pastor. The arrangement was made as a reported threat to attack a city government building was revealed. The church elders were to form a line in front of the Public Safety Building with police behind them and protesters in the street. The hope is to prevent any planned attack on the building and to stop any violence. The elders showed up at the building for a time, but then formed to lead the protest march Sunday night.

The New York Post report on the announcement cited the toll of the riot Saturday night:

Three cops were injured and nine people arrested overnight during what amounted to the city’s biggest protest so far involving 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 marchers who refused to disperse.

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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 and shoved his face to the ground till he stopped breathing while he suffered a mental breakdown on the street.

Video clips of Mayor Warren and Reverend Myra Brown speaking at the press conference:

Brown said her goal is to protect protesters from police, “…We’re asking for justice, and until justice is served we have to make sure our young people are safe, right? That our college students are safe. That children who are marching are safe. And so, 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 and pepper balls in their eyes and feel safe in this community…”

The elders did indeed show up:

Video posted Sunday night show a church elder chanted in support of the protesters:

Church elders are leading the march:

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