BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – It started peacefully. It ended with violence. Another day of protest in Buffalo.
Driven by the death of George Floyd, demonstrators on Monday afternoon marched through downtown Buffalo and the city’s East Side to tell city leaders that progression needs to be made in the African American community.
The march started with speeches from individuals from a variety of groups, including Young Visionaries, PUSH Buffalo and Citizen Action of New York.
Mercedes Overstreet of Young Visionaries was one of the organizers and said city government has been silent for far too long.
“The message here is to have the police and the mayor to sit down at a roundtable with their community that they’re serving and protecting,” Overstreet said. “To have a seat at the roundtable to change these laws and policies to hold people accountable for what they do.”
Christian Parra of Free The People Western New York said Buffalo is not immune to its own share of racial injustice.
“This is bigger than George. This is bigger than Clinton, right. But it’s all-inclusive. It’s the fact that people of color are under attack. And it’s the point that what are we going to do to actually stand up and fight back as communities,” Parra said. “Not to break things or anything. I’m not gonna say 100% that I’m just against them breaking stuff, but they need to make that there’s policies and change that they need to put in place, the reason they’re doing it. You can’t just do it for no reason. “
Marchers remained peaceful as they walked throughout the Queen City until about 7 p.m., all the way through MLK Park before passing by C and E District police stations.
Overstreet hoped more locally focused and organized protests would ensure nothing like the Niagara Square protest over the weekend happens again.
But the protest turned violent Monday evening.
Two police officers were struck by a vehicle as protesters gathered on the 2700 block of Bailey Avenue.
Both officers, one a Buffalo Police officer and the other a New York State trooper, are currently in stable condition at Erie County Medical Center.
Bailey Avenue was briefly shut down before being opened up again a little before 3 a.m.
According to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the driver of the vehicle that hit the officers is in police custody.
The @ErieCountyNY Departments of @ErieCountyESU, Central Police Services and @ECSONY1 are monitoring the incident on Bailey Avenue in Buffalo in which two officers were struck by a vehicle. It is by understanding the driver and passengers of the vehicle are in custody.
— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) June 2, 2020
Aaron Besecker of the Buffalo News is reporting, according to a law enforcement source, the driver and a passenger inside the vehicle were shot before they hit officers.
Update: A law enforcement source said it appeared the two people with gunshot wounds in the SUV had been shot an unrelated incident. It did not appear the driver of the SUV was deliberately targeting officers, the source said. https://t.co/9DHvZvwzg3
— Aaron Besecker (@AaronBesecker) June 2, 2020
This is a developing story. Follow @MrozWBFO for updates.
In past few moments we heard several loud pops which officers then confirmed were gunshots. We’ve moved back a couple more blocks for safety. More police vehicles have passed us.
— Michael Mroziak (@MrozWBFO) June 2, 2020