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Buffalo lawmaker calls to keep protests peaceful

Posted at 12:23 AM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 00:28:45-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Last Monday, Buffalo’s University District Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt took to Facebook live at the corner of Easton and Bailey as everything unfolded that dark night. It was there he denounced neighbors looting.

“I’m just sick to my stomach right now. This is my neighborhood,” he said during the Facebook live. Wyatt saying at another point: “When you take (the) opportunity and you tear up our neighborhood using it in the guise of protest, now that ain’t cool.”

A week later, Wyatt stood at the same spot echoing the same message from last week. He also sent prayers to the officers injured that evening and hoped frightened neighbors are recovering, as well.

“It was very turbulent for me and very emotional for me because I worked so hard in the district to bring resources here,” he said Monday evening.

Wyatt said violence is never the answer. Rather he wants the community to come together to talk about a strategy.

“Because this is America. We want people to be able to do what they have to do, but we don’t want them to damage our property and make poor communities ever poorer when things like this happen,” Wyatt said.

While many supported his Facebook live message, some found an issue with one particular part.

“Go somewhere else loot somewhere else. Don’t loot in our neighborhood,” Wyatt said in the Facebook live.

A week later, the Council member apologized: “I made a probably inappropriate comment to say go somewhere else. That’s not what I stand for, that’s not what I believe and it was the wrong thing for me to say.

Wyatt said he is dedicated to helping not only his district thrive, but his city thrive.

He added he is encouraged by seeing images coming out of peaceful protests where are streets packed with protesters, sharing their need for change.

“That’s democracy at work,” Wyatt said. He wanted to ensure the community he is listening and so is the Common Council, which is already working towards reforms. Wyatt added it takes a community to make change through speaking out, voting and coming together.

“We’re all one and we have to recognize that and stop letting people divide us and really come together as a community because I think we can do it,” he said.