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Protesters occupy Niagara Square, call for Deyanna Davis' release

Protesters continued a takeover of Niagara Square Sunday, as they pushed for the release of Deyanna Davis from the Erie County Holding Center.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Protesters are now occupying Niagara Square.

Davis is in custody after being shot during a tangled incident on Bailey Avenue June 1 which left a New York State Trooper badly injured. One of the two passengers in her van was wounded. All three face a variety of charges and possibly more are pending.

Circumstances of the shooting remain unclear. There were shots fired by police during the incident and possibly by others. Initially, Davis was treated at Erie County Medical Center and was then taken to the Holding Center, where she remains.

Protester Jasmine Frazier said Davis should still be in a hospital.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"She should not be kept in a Holding Center that is responsible for the deaths of 28 people, who many of them went in healthy and then came out dead," Frazier said. "We cannot stand for Deyanna being kept in that center. She absolutely needs to be released and she needs to be given proper medical attention."

Marie said she was in the square encampment, believing in the protesters' wider goal of improving impoverished minority neighborhoods.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"A lot of it's just ran down. So when you're growing up in those areas, it almost make you feel that you should also be growing up in a certain way, because if you're also growing up in an area, you also adapt to that area," she said. "So once you go to a higher-income area, you already feel misplaced, not as connected to those people as you do in the area you grew up in."

Jessica Howell was there with her two kids, saying she wants a better society for daughter Abby.

"She wants to be a cop when she grows up and we want her to be able to be a cop in an area of time where it's not only safe for everyone around her, but for her as well, something that she can be proud of," Howell said. "We think that everybody deserves love and freedom and safety, right?"

While police have taken away the tents set up by the protesters, the crowd led by Black Love Resists in the Rust is hanging on, reminiscent of the Occupy Buffalo occupation of the square for months in 2011.

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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