"Whenever you list the names of those who have been killed at the hands of the police, it's not just one community," said Anthony Neal, professor of Political Science at Buffalo State College. "It's not just the south, it's not just the east." That growing realization, Neal argues, worked to spur the turnout at Saturday night's protest at Niagara Square. "It's all across the country."
"We've been here before," Neal said about police protests while offering perspective in a morning conversation with WBFO.
The death of George Floyd, however, comes at a different time under different circumstances.
"That situation was just like throwing a match on dry straw and just took off around the country."
Neal believes the Floyd incident may have touched a nerve in the public's psyche in "the way it was captured on film and the cavalier appearance of the officer who had his knee on his neck."
The outrage over the incident is, Neal points out, "all across the country."
Of course, pressure has been building throughout the country as it has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. That may have contributed to the emotional response.
"When you look at the pandemic, everyone's home. Everyone's out of work. No one is in school," Neal said.
"Everyone just pouring into the streets, as well, that was a release valve."