Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has issued a citywide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Tuesday through Sunday to help curb the possibility of violent incidents stemming from civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
The mayor made the announcement at a late morning news briefing with Buffalo Police officials on Tuesday.
"The peaceful protest yesterday was ended by its organizers at a certain time. The people that stayed after were there for other reasons. They were not there out of concern, pain or anger about what happened to George Floyd. We cannot allow that to happen," Brown said of the unrest that triggered the curfew.
"So, to protect our residents, to protect our businesses, and to protect peaceful protesters exercising their freedom of speech rights, we will be implementing a curfew."
Shortly after the mayor's announcement, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced a curfew would be in effect during the same timeframe Tuesday night in Amherst, Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, the Town of Tonawanda, and West Seneca. He later said, following futher consultations with local supervisers and mayors, the curfew would be extended countywide.
Essential workers and travelers to and from the airport are not subject to the curfew.
"While I fully support peaceful protests, last night’s peaceful protest devolved into violence, and that is unacceptable. Ensuring public safety is our first priority and renewing the curfew is a necessary step toward that goal,” Poloncarz said, in a statement.
Protests began Saturday in Buffalo and continued Sunday and Monday. Three law enforcement officers were injured on Bailey Avenue Monday night when a vehicle drove through a police blockade.
Asked about his decision not to call a curfew Monday night, Brown said he was encouraged by the peace he saw Sunday and in a protest earlier in the day Monday. Poloncarz, at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, expressed regret about the decision, saying "hindsight is 20/20 and we're not taking any chances today."