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Western New York reacts to death of George Floyd

A protest is scheduled for Saturday in Niagara Sq.
Officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck before death is in custody, reports say
Posted at 12:24 AM, May 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-30 09:55:41-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Protesters across the country are making their voices heard in response to the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died while being pinned down by a police officer.

In Western New York, a protest is planned in Niagara Square for 5 pm Saturday. More than 800 people responded to the event on Facebook saying they plan on attending. In a statement to 7 Eyewitness News the event organizers emphasized that it is a peaceful protest, and encourage people to follow social distance protocols.

"The time to change is now, this is not just about George Floyd anymore this is about the years and years of mistreatment, racism, ignorance, abuse and brutality towards the black community," said one of the event's organizers in a statement.

Pastor James Giles with the Buffalo Peacemakers gives presentations to the Buffalo Police Department he said more cities should have community organizations that partner with police, like in Buffalo.

“Law enforcement is really about a partnership," he said. "How do we make our community better how do we make our community safer.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he does not condone protests that become violent.

“We have to get through this situation together," he said. "I know that people are hurting in Minneapolis, people are hurting in Buffalo, people are hurting all over the country watching an incident like this but there’s no place for violence.”

The Western New York Peace Center said the group is planning speak-out sessions on policing standards. The group decided to go back to holding them following last week's use of force arrest in Buffalo.

A spokesperson for the Buffalo Police Department tells 7 Eyewitness News that the department is aware of the demonstration and is planning accordingly.