NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Protesters and officers said they are approaching Friday's Black Lives Matter march in Niagara Falls with compassion at the forefront.
“Saying love is the answer is not corny. It starts there. Having genuine compassion for those that I am with for my peers, for those that I live in the community with,” said Brian Archie, a protester in Niagara Falls, “The least I can do is show up and be in support of the community where I live.”
“Nobody dislikes a bad cop more than a good cop and I'm with them,” said Niagara County Acting Sheriff Michael Filicetti.
But stepping out, means hoping for the best, while preparing for potential trouble.
“We go on the premise that we want it to be peaceful, but we also plan accordingly on the if come it’s not,” said Filicetti.
“For me I've made sure to reach out to a friend or two to kind of meet there and identify each other to have each other’s backs,” Archie said.
Filicetti said he's advising officers to be patient and understanding. He explains on duty officers cannot walk or take a knee because they have a job to do. That's why he will be at protests.
“We have to maintain a balance of people that are willing to march or go out and talk to the crowd and people who still maintain security. I can't give that up. It's not that I don't trust people but I don't know everybody that's there and what their motivation is. If they want somebody to march with them, I'll march with them,” Filicetti said.
“It shows compassion. It shows togetherness. It shows that we are all on the same page and that we are one,” said Archie.
While Archie said the gestures on behalf of the sheriff's office demonstrate unity, action need to happen after the protest.
“I hope that it opens up a new dialogue around race relations and stops allowing that conversation to be so taboo,” said Archie.