Protesters begin gathering at old Falls police station

Photo by RobShotsAbout a dozen protesters, some carrying signs reading "I Can't Breathe," the statement uttered by George Floyd before his police-involved death in Minneapolis, gathered Sunday evening across the street from the old Niagara Falls police station on Hyde Park Boulevard. 

A smattering of protesters - some of them carrying signs with the words "I can't breath" on them - assembled Sunday evening in the 500 block of Hyde Park Boulevard, across the street from the site of the old Niagara Falls police station.

The site is one of several in the city where police were stationed in advance of intelligence that suggested the locations could become places of protest over the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

A flyer circulating in the Falls suggested protesters were planning to "burn the old police station down." 

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, there were no reported incidents of violence or destruction in the city. 

Members of the Niagara Falls Peacekeepers - a volunteer resident group whose members serve as liaisons to local police - stood with officers at the former police headquarters at 520 Hyde Park Blvd. 

Peacekeeper Donta Myles said Falls Police Superintendent Thomas Licata asked the group to come out with officers. Myles said the Peacekeepers were looking to engage with protesters.

"We can understand the level of frustration," he said. "If you're doing it peacefully, we understand. This is the city I live in. I want to make sure vigilantes and radicals don't come here and burn the place down."

As dusk gathered about a dozen protestors, a few with signs, stood across from the old police station.

Myles spoke with them and said they told him they intended to be peaceful.

"They said, 'We're not about that looting and craziness,'" Myles said. "They said. 'If that starts, we're going home.'"

Dozens of police officers representing more than a dozen local law enforcement agencies, including the Falls police, New York State Police and Niagara County Sheriff's Office, stood watch at various locations throughout the city, including Niagara Falls City Hall and the current Public Safety Complex on Main Street. Police also blocked off all of the entrances to the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls in the Town of Niagara. 

Deputies from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, officers from the Town of Niagara, Town of Lewiston, Somerset, Youngstown, New York State Park Police, New York State Police troopers and agents from thee U.S. Border Patrol are all taking part in the police operation. Their presence follows Saturday night protests that turned violent and destructive in Buffalo. 

There have been no reported incidents in the Falls. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as necessary.

 

 

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