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Buffalo protest calls to defund police department

Posted at 11:27 PM, Jun 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 23:27:06-04

For protestors like Solomon Brown, Saturday night's protest was personal.

"Me and my dad have had experiences with the cops and racial profiling and it's become too much where I needed to come out here," he said.

He was one of hundreds of protesters who marched from Niagara Square, down Delaware Avenue, to outside of the Erie County Holding Center.

Protest organizer Marielle Smith is calling for the closure of the holding center over concerns inmates have long been mistreated.

During the protest, she read the names of 30 inmates who died in recent years while in custody at the Holding Center.

Smith is also calling to defund the Buffalo Police Department and instead fund things like education and healthcare.

But, above all, she's calling for racial equality.

"Black voices were able to be amplified. Black joy was able to be amplified, and we were given a safe space to speak out," said Smith.

Protesters eventually returned to Niagara Square to peacefully continue sharing their message.

Smith only hopes that message brings change.

"The dream is black people receiving justice for all of the injustices that we have faced in this country," Smith said.