Another day of protest in Buffalo started peacefully, but ended with violence.
Driven by the death of George Floyd, demonstrators on Monday afternoon marched through downtown Buffalo and the city's East Side to tell city leaders that progress needs to be made when it comes to police relations with the African American community.
The march started with speeches from individuals from a variety of groups including Young Visionaries, PUSH Buffalo and Citizen Action of New York. Mercedes Overstreet of Young Visionaries was one of the organizers and said city government has been silent for far too long.
“The message here is to have the police and the mayor to sit down at a roundtable with their community that they’re serving and protecting," Overstreet said. "To have a seat at the roundtable to change these laws and policies to hold people accountable for what they do.”
Christian Parra of Free The People Western New York said Buffalo is not immune to its own share of racial injustices.
“This is bigger than George. This is bigger than Clinton. It’s all-inclusive. It’s the fact that people of color are under attack and it’s the point that what are we going to do to actually stand up and fight back as communities," Parra said. "Not to break things or anything. I’m not gonna say 100% that I’m just against them breaking stuff, but they need to make that there’s policies and change that they need to put in place, the reason they’re doing it. You can’t just do it for no reason. “
Marchers remained peaceful as they walked throughout the Queen City until about 7 p.m., all the way through MLK Park before passing by C and E District police stations.
Overstreet hoped more locally focused and organized protests would ensure nothing like the Niagara Square protest over the weekend happens again.
Violence erupted Monday evening when two police officers were struck by a vehicle as protesters gathered on the 2700 block of Bailey Avenue.
The incident was captured on video by a local resident. (WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS VIOLENT CONTENT AND EXPLICIT LANGUAGE)
Just happened: a protest in a car run over a group of cops in Buffalo NY...Some of them might be dead
— Yousef NH (@YousefNH2) June 2, 2020
Bailey Avenue was briefly shut down before being opened up again shortly before 3 a.m.
State Police issued a press release Tuesday morning, saying a 2002 Ford Explorer drove through a blockade around 10 p.m. Monday, striking a trooper and a Buffalo police officer, and running over another trooper on the ground. Troopers fired shots at the vehicle, which was apprehended. The operator and the vehicle's occupants were taken int custody, at which time one of the occupants was found to have a gunshot wound.
The operator and that passenger were taken to ECMC with non life-threatening injuries. The trooper who was run over, since identified as Ronald Ensminger, Jr., was also taken to ECMC with a shattered pelvis and a broken leg. The other trooper, Randall Shenefiel, and the unidentified Buffalo officer were treated for minor injuries.
On Tuesday afternoon, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced Semaj T. Pigram, 25, and Walter B. Stewart, Jr., 28, both of Buffalo, have been charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. The two men were allegedly passengers in the vehicle. A loaded handgun that was stolen in West Seneca in January was found in the vehicle. The female driver of the vehicle remains hospitalized at ECMC.
A criminal investigation is continuing.