"This video is playing on YouTube around the world. And it's not the most flattering picture of the Rochester Police Department. And that concerns me," said Rochester City Councilmember Carolee Conklin.
Rochester City Council took the rare step of throwing the agenda out. The unscripted meeting started with a viewing of the six minute video that has started a far-reaching debate. Once up to speed, the council asked questions of the police department, with some of the bruised protesters on hand to watch.
"Will you look at it though, in general, in terms of the way the whole incident happened, and the way the incident was handled?" asked Carla Palumbo, a Rochester City Councilmember. Deputy Chief George Markert said they would, in congressional-hearing-like testimony. "There were opportunities missed on the part of both parties, and 20/20 hindsight, would I have loved to say, OK, hold on folks, where are you going, and let me facilitate you getting there in a safe manner, that's me the next day. I don't know that didn't happen," said Markert.
The hour-long back and forth didn't satisfy protesters, because they weren't included. "If this was a conversation, and everyone there was calling it a conversation, we felt we had a right to participate in that conversation, and we did not, we were denied that right," said Tim Adams, a member of Students for a Democratic Society.
However, Councilman Adam McFadden says today's talk was meant to start the discussion, not finish it. "The intent was to get this in here quickly, and try to respond to it quickly before it divided the community, and if you just read the blogs on it, the community is becoming divided, and I don't think we need to," McFadden. Indeed, the city council says they will be holding a meeting so that the protesters will have a chance to speak their minds.
Protesters will be holding a press conference in front of the public safety building Friday. The protesters told us that they didn't apply for a permit because it was too expensive. However the city told us that permits for first amendment marches are free, that they're not even allowed to charge for them.