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City of Rochester

News Release - Statement by Mayor Thomas S. Richards and Police Chief James M. Sheppard Regarding RPD Efforts

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, July 30, 2012) – There has been much ado recently in the local media regarding the Rochester Police Department and a group of protesters. Our police officers have been unfairly targeted with criticism and false accusations.

The Rochester Police Department does an excellent job protecting the rights of protesters who lawfully assemble and act reasonably and peacefully. Our officers are willing and able to accommodate the exercise of First Amendment rights, as well as to protect the rights of citizens to go about their lives in the city.

On Thursday, July 26, protesters originally wanted to block the streets during rush hour and this application was denied. They eventually applied for a reasonable permit and it was granted. The police provided for their safety and right to march as permitted, while also providing for the safety and rights of others who were impacted along the march route. The protestors largely stuck to the terms of the permit and the only detention was of an individual who attempted to deface City Hall, which would have provoked that action whether there was a march or not. No one interfered with their speech, either oral or written.

Contrast that with July 21st when the group marched with no permit, blocked the streets and refused to respect the rights of others or the direction of the police.

It is often challenging to reach the correct balance between the sometimes conflicting interests of our citizens, but we fully support the actions of our officers on both dates.

The majority of protests here over the years have not specifically targeted the Police Department. It is an interesting dynamic where those who are being accused by the protesters are actually working closely with them to ensure their right to safely and lawfully assemble in that regard.

The Rochester Police Department is proud of its record of professionalism and is dedicated to community-oriented policing. The Chief on the Street initiative, the We’ve Got Your Back campaign and Operation Cool Down (see:www.cityofrochester.gov/operationcooldown) are tangible efforts to build and foster community-police relationship and keep Rochester safe.

The members of the Rochester Police Department have our full support in these endeavors.

-30-

News Media: For more information, contact Gary Walker at 428-7405.


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