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Group protests outside of Mayor's fundraiser, decries police brutality response

Several dozen protesters marched from Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo Monday evening to outside of 500 Pearl St., the site of a fundraiser for Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, to decry the lack of accountability by the Mayor’s office regarding police brutality.

The march, dubbed We Keep Us Safe, was organized by Allies for Black Justice. Many of the evening's speakers expressed feelings of exclusion when it comes to working with local politicians to solve community-based problems.

On the top of that list, said Allies for Black Justice Organizer Eve Shippens, is the city’s tepid response to a number of confrontations between the police and citizens.

“What we’re seeing right now is a step in the wrong direction,” she said. “One of the things that we’ve seen recently is the suggestion of investing even more money into a really untested technology, which is the BoloWrap.”

The BoloWrap is a non-lethal means of corraling an individual. No matter its effectiveness, Shippens said it is not a device suited to de-escalate a situation.

“Surrounding somebody” she said. “And carrying weapons or maybe shooting anything at them, whether it's non-lethal or not, is going to escalate the situation.”

The estimated cost of one Bolowrap is $1,000. The Buffalo Police Department will begin using the BoloWraps as part of a pilot project to determine their feasibility during regular patrols.

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