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Rochester Police, City Council Examine Protest Clash


Rochester, N.Y. -- A clash between anti-war protestors and Rochester Police is getting a closer look by City Council.

Watching the video of the confrontation wasn't on the agenda of City Council's Public Safety Committee Thursday afternoon, but nobody anticipated police and protestors to cross paths like they did Wednesday evening.

Some of those protestors in attendance showed mixed reactions, from shock, to smiles and laughs.

The Rochester Police Department promises a full report on the incident.

"What worked well and what didn't? Clearly, many, many things didn't work well," said Deputy Police Chief George Markert. He told City Council some of the officers involved were young and less experienced, but he's not drawing many conclusions until the internal investigation is complete.

But while they questioned police leaders, some council members let their own conclusions known.

"If you really believe in what you're doing and your cause, these types of things happen, and you add them to your resume as an activist," said Councilman John Lightfoot (D).

"There are ways to do it young people, and that's not to say you did anything wrong, but there are ways to do it," said Councilman Adam McFadden (D).

"I disagree with your protest against the war in Afghanistan.," said Councilman Bill Pritchard. "I can only imagine how it must've felt being faced with a bunch of young people who were not listening to the very clear instruction to stop breaking the law."

Those that were there have drawn conclusions too

"No warning, no ‘you must disperse,' just converge," said Chriscenzo Sciopone, who was arrested at the protest. "With the exception of perhaps the first and second arrest, the arrests were made on the sidewalk. We can't backup any farther if we're on a bridge."

McFadden says he doesn't think the young students imagined this would play out as it did, but he added that he doesn't think anyone in Rochester would even know the march had taken place otherwise.

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