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18 arrested during weekend protests over Floyd killing

Mike Desmond
This liquor store was looted during weekend protests.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz briefed reporters late Sunday night on what had transpired in the prior 36 hours of violence, vandalism and looting spun off from a protest about the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police, while Erie County District Attorney John Flynn promised justice in prosecutions.

Mayor Brown said around 50 people protested for much of Sunday in Niagara Square.

"The protesters were asked to leave Niagara Square and go home. Most of them did comply and did disperse. There were six arrests of people that did not leave. Those arrests were for disorderly conduct and for violating a curfew," he said.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz (l) and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown update media on weekend protests late Sunday evening.

The mayor said there were two other arrests for putting graffiti on City Hall, plus another 10 arrests Saturday overnight. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said most were white suburbanites.

Flynn said there are a series of investigations underway, on local and federal levels, of arson, an attack on a TV reporter and of a young woman who went to Erie County Medical Center with a serious head injury after she was pulled out of her car in Niagara Square and beaten on Saturday. Video from the scene shows the woman appearing to accelerate into a crowd of protesters.

The DA said the nine adults arrested Saturday night are free awaiting court appearances, three on felonies. He said they could not be held sue to new state bail laws, but one Kenmore man was.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
This Bank of America branch was damaged during weekend protests.

"Reckless endangerment and this individual, Mr. Hill, who was arrested last night and arraigned this morning is charged with, allegedly, smashing a liquor store window up there on Elmwood Avenue, throwing bottles at police officers and creating havoc," Flynn said.

Daniel Hill, 21, is due back in court July 15. Flynn said he will do justice because that is what prosecutors do, on both sides of the law.

"I've prosecuted five police officers in my three years. It's one of the toughest things I gotta do. We're on the same team. We're teammates and I gotta prosecute a teammate. I've done it five times, but you gotta do it," he said. "Mike Freeman in Minneapolis did justice. While the DAs down in Georgia in the Arbery Case did do justice at first. Right now, it's going to the attorney general down there and hopefully justice will be done down there, as well."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn addresses the weekend protests on the steps of Old County Hall.

The Arbery case is of a black jogger killed by two men who thought he was a criminal. Police and prosecutors tried to blame him for his own death until video of what happened surfaced, leading to the investigation being taken away from the local prosecutor.

Mayor Brown blamed outsiders for much of what happened on Saturday.

"We do believe and we do know that some of the folks, some that were inciting violence, some that were the most violent were not from Buffalo or Erie County. They came to this community from the outside and, I think, the fact that those folks that really were bent on creating violence, on inciting violence are no longer in this community," he said.

There is a lot of surveillance camera footage and social media that could show whether the violence was started by people from outside Western New York.

Cheektowaga police locked down the Galleria Mall Sunday night, for the second night in a row. There were dump trucks and police cars patrolling entrances with the Swat Team ready.

Flynn said a specific individual had posted plans to attack the mall and signed his name to the threat. Cheektowaga Police are known to be looking for that unnamed individual.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Walden Galleria was locked down overnight after police received a credible threat.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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