BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — After another night of Buffalo protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent, with three police officers hurt, the community turned out to clean up the area around the Buffalo Police E-District Station on Bailey Avenue.
"This is not okay. We cannot bring them down and burn them down. We have to stop," said Davette Patton about the effects the violent protests are having on neighborhoods. She was one of dozens of people who volunteered to clean the area where the violence occurred.
"We are losing sight of the message and that is to make sure police brutality does not occur to the George Floyd's and people of my skin color," added Patton.
Several dozen residents and community volunteers, some from Amherst and the Town of Tonawanda, gathered barely 12-hours after the violence on Bailey Avenue to show solidarity with the neighborhood. The group grew larger thoughout the day as people spread out to pick up trash, debris, and leftovers from the violent night.
"You help clean up. You stand with your neighbors. And you say 'I see you," added Katie Symser from Amherst.
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul (D-New York) and NYS Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D) joined the volunteers to show their support and help clean.
"This is a call to action. This is not a call to violence. It is a call to positive constructive action and these dialogues need to start right on streets, like this, on this very day," said Hochul.
"I am really proud of Buffalonians who stood up and said 'This is enough. We can't take this anymore.' But you can do that without harming anybody's business, destroying anybody's car or destroying anybody's property," said Peoples-Stokes.
At one point in the morning, the cleanup paused for an impromptu prayer service lead by local ministers.
The volunteers vow theirs is not a 'one-and-done' effort. If violence continues in Buffalo, the group promised to help affected neighborhoods recover. "We are not condoning what you all are doing. So if you want to bring it, we are going to bring it too . . . but we are going to bring it with the bags," explained East-side resident Davette Patton.