PHOTOS: A diversity of signage, one collective goal in march to Mayor Brown's home
Their demands were visible in the signs they carried, as protesters marched and drove from Buffalo's Niagara Square, through the Elmwood Village, and eventually to the Hamlin Park home of Mayor Byron Brown Wednesday. As protesters gathered, the mayor was escorted by police to an awaiting vehicle, which left the scene. The event was loud, but peaceful.
Some of those signs reflected the times, like "Black Lives Matter" and "Help Us With This Movement." Others were personal to the protester, like "ACAB" and "Peace Demands Action."
Colin Tucker carried a sign that said "End White Silence." He said that means the silence of racism.
"It's everywhere. On the other hand, you have to start somewhere. You have to be specific. I think speaking out, learning to talk with other White people in all-White spaces about racism, I think that is maybe a good place to start, getting comfortable talking about this," Tucker said. "So it's everywhere, but you have to start somewhere."
Tucker said many white people don't even know how to talk about White Supremacy, but that is key to doing something about it.
Alyssa Mt. Pleasant and Marla Segol carried "UUP Justice" signs.
"We passed a resolution in support of protests for social justice and anti-violent policing, said Mt. Pleasant. "And, importantly, we also are part of the resolution spoke out in favor of passage of Cariol's Law."
The law is named for Cariol Horne, who maintains she was pushed off the Buffalo Police force for trying to stop another officer from choking someone he had just arrested. That other officer, later promoted to lieutenant, did a stint in jail after conviction for choking a group of young men after they were arrested. Cariol's Law would give Horne a shot at getting the state pension she was months away from receiving before being fired.
Segol, UUP's Global Gender and Sexuality Studies Department representative, said a different kind of cop can end brutality, like the one advertised on a recruiting sign in London's tube.
"Do you want to help your community? Are you good at conflict resolution? Are you good at de-escalating? Join our police force," Segol said. "So for me, police brutality, the definition is in the actions, but it's produced systemically."
Policing in England is far different from current U.S. policing. Protesters called for much more social work and less use of police, for example, to be the front line of the mental health system. Doing something about that is coming into focus in the Buffalo Police Department.