A noisy march for justice in Buffalo takes a violent turn

Three law enforcers struck by vehicle, shots fired

WBEN Newsroom
June 01, 2020 - 9:04 pm
Protesters gather in front of Buffalo Police E District

Protesters gather in front of Buffalo Police E District/WBEN Photo

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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Three law enforcement officers were struck and injured Monday night as anger and unrest again filled the streets of Buffalo.

Police in line on Baileye Ave after two officers were struck by a vehicle

Police say three officers were injured when they were struck by a vehicle on Bailey Avenue in the shadows of the Buffalo Police E District station house. 

New York State Police Tuesday morning say a Ford Explorer drove through a blockade, striking a Trooper and a Buffalo Police Officer, and running over another Trooper on the ground.  Troopers on scene fired shots at the vehicle.

The vehicle was apprehended and the operator and occupants were taken into custody.  While taking the operator into custody, Law enforcement observed a gunshot wound.  One of the passengers had a gunshot wound, the other had no injuries.  The operator and passenger with injures were taken to Erie County Medical Center for non-life threatening injures.

The Trooper who was run over was treated at ECMC for a shattered pelvis and a broken leg. The other Trooper and Buffalo Police Officer were treated for minor injuries. ThatTrooper suffered a hand/wrist injury was treated and released  

Tear gas was deployed into the crowd Monday evening as well.

Video posted by a bystander shows a line of police officers, backed up by an armored personnel carrier, rushing and tackling a man who was being interviewed by a man with a TV camera about 9:30 p.m. Other officers used batons to whack at protesters, who scattered.

Moments later, there was the sound of firearms discharging off camera, then officers ran as an SUV barreled through a cluster of officers. At least one appeared to go under the vehicle’s wheels.

The SUV drove around an armored vehicle and sped off as more gunfire sounded.

WARNING:  The below video is graphic in nature

As a police helicopter flew overhead, officers in armored vehicles asked the crowd to disperse and fired tear gas within a few blocks of where the police were struck. Several stores in the area were broken into, and people were seen entering and leaving with goods. The windows of a looted convenience store were smashed and protective metal bars had been pulled aside.

One woman on her front stoop said, “I’m scared,” to a person over the phone.

As the night stretched on, the crowds thinned out and smoke swirled from trash that had been emptied out across several streets and set on fire.

The violence comes after a lengthy moving protest was largely peaceful through the afternoon, winding its way through the streets of downtown and the city's east side. The violence erupted as some demonstrators lingered and challenged police on Bailey Avenue into the late evening.

"We're protesting for justice for the streets of Buffalo," Larniece Whitehead told WBEN as she marched up Jefferson Avenue, relinquishing the bullhorn she was using to motivate the crowd of dozens of protesters.  "We want justice, not all over the world, we want justice on our own streets," she said. 

It's a scene being played out across the country from city to city as angry demonstrators take to the streets, public squares and busy intersections rallying in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  "No justice, no peace, no killer police," was the chant echoing from the boisterous crowd.

In its early stages the moving march only presented traffic problems and logistical concerns for the Buffalo Police Department as the group took a

Buffalo Police Department
winding and lengthy route from city hall, through downtown streets, out Genesee Street and making stops at the East Ferry C district location as well as the Bailey station before coming to a close.

At one point during the demonstration, protesters blocked the entrance to the Kensington Expressway from downtown Buffalo. Police were in marked cars in front of the demonstration and trailing behind as well, keeping a watchful eye on the crowd.  Dozens of riot-clad officers lined up in front of the police stations as demonstrators approached and rallied and the Erie County Sheriff's Department Air One helicopter was flying overhead for surveillance.

Organizers vow this isn't a one time demonstration and that they will make their presence known each day beginning at 4pm.

The Buffalo demonstration began to break up at about the same time President Trump was making an announcement about deploying military force in cities across the country to halt any potential violence.

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