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NAACP calls for the end of chokeholds, other police tactics

Downtown Buffalo's protest Saturday night, like those in so many other cities across the nation and the world, was sparked by last week's death of George Floyd, who was suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer. Rev. Mark Blue, President of the Buffalo branch of the NAACP, says the protests show the need for  change in how police perform their duties. 

According to Blue, the NAACP has established a list of needed police reforms.

"We would like a ban on the use of knee-holds and chokeholds as an acceptable practice for police officers."

Better de-escalation training also needs to be expanded for police, Blue says. Proponents argue such training would help officers calm tense confrontations involving the public. 

"We also want the state to open up records of officers that have had misconducts and disciplinary history," Blue said. The proposal was also aired recently Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

"We want recertification of credentials...(to be)...denied for police officers if determined their use of deadly force was unwarranted by federal guidelines."

Blue attended Saturday's protest at Niagara Square. He characterized the protest "peaceful" and that authorities called for the gathering to "disperse peacefully." Much of the evening's troubles reportedly began after the gathering began leaving the square.

Blue was asked if "outside agitators" were the present Saturday night.

"There's no doubt in my mind," he emphatically answered. 

"There were individuals who did not live in this city, this community, that came with the express intent on causing riotous acts."  

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.