Saturday's protest in Niagara Square may have been prompted by the Minneapolis death of George Floyd, but one observer believes the message should be absorbed by local officials. "The children took the street," was how Marielle Smith of Black Love Resists in the Rust characterized the evening's events. That energy, Smith contends, is focused on bringing change to the Buffalo police department.
"I move that Saturday was constructive," Smith told WBFO about the protests.
"They moved with a sense of urgency that I respect deeply."
Black Love Resists in the Rust was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the traffic checkpoints deployed by the Buffalo police. They maintain the stops disproportionately targeted neighborhoods of color.
Another point of contention for Smith and her group: over the last three years, four citizens of color have died at the hands of Buffalo police.
"We, for a long time, have been pushing the demands that they be fired and they be prosecuted because those are the demands of the people," Smith says.
"They're still on the police force and they're still terrorizing our black residents and our brown residents."
Smith wants the top of the city government to hear the calls.
"Mayor Brown refuses to meet with us, refuses to listen to us."