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Protesters return to Hertel, confronted by bar patrons

A peaceful protest through North Buffalo nearly turned ugly Tuesday when marchers were confronted by Hertel Avenue bar patrons in the vicinity of last week’s altercation involving a man with a knife.

The Don’t Be Silent North Buffalo event was organized by North Buffalo residents in response to last Friday’s knife incident, for which one arrest has been made. Chrno Cross was the woman seen in the viral videos shielding herself and others from the men with her bike. Standing on the front lawn of the North Buffalo Community School before the march, Cross says the previous march’s themes were overshadowed by the altercation.

“We were marching in solidarity with James Blake,” she said. “And everything that is going on in Kenosha. But we also wanted to use it as an opportunity to speak on the voter retention in Buffalo, which is really a problem, and we also wanted to talk about Cariol’s Law, which is the duty to intervene law that is on the [Common] Council’s members table right now. So we wanted to use that platform and this movement to speak out about very important, pressing issues that are going on right now.”

The problem started as the marchers, following a police escort, made their way past MT Pockets Bar on Hertel Avenue, where a large group congregated on the front patio. Racial slurs and shouts of “go back to the east side” were heard. Many patrons then left the patio to confront the protestors in the middle of Hertel Avenue. A small scuffle broke out, no punches were thrown and the large police presence, some of whom were without name tags, eventually separated the two groups.

One of the event organizers, who did not want to be identified by name, wonders why the police led marchers past the scene of the last incident, especially when no police escort was asked for.

“We were just coming to the intersection where this all transpired and were going back,” she said. “It was just a symbolic walk, but then the cops did this big lead over here for this confrontation. This is on them.”

What could have been the second ugly scene on Hertel in less than a week, ended up giving cooler heads the opportunity to prevail.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
Tom Dinki joined WBFO in August 2019 to cover issues affecting older adults.
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