Black Lives Matter demonstrators swarmed a Wegmans grocery store in Rochester, N.Y., on Tuesday, trapping approximately 100 customers inside, while protesting the death of Daniel Prude, a black man, following an encounter with the Rochester Police Department in March 2020.
Video posted on Twitter shows people inside the store closing and locking the doors as a mob of individuals chanting “black lives matter” attempts to run in before they close.
One man is seen attempting to force the doors open as they’re being held closed by multiple individuals from the inside. Someone in the crowd instructs the demonstrators to “go around” to the doors on the other side of the establishment, which are also being guarded from the inside by a man in a mask.
Prior to making their way to the grocery store, the BLM demonstrators yelled, “We have a long walk today, we’re shutting sh-t down,” according to 13WHAM-TV reporter Michael Schwartz.
Schwartz added that the mob composed of nearly 200 people had shut down the intersection of East and Alexander while making their way East.
“Police keeping distance, closing surrounding streets,” he tweeted.
Led by a black truck waving a Black Lives Matter flag, the mob of hundreds of protesters can be heard chanting, “Say his name. Daniel Prude” as they make their way to the Wegmans grocery store.
“The group has set up here at East Ave. Wegmans. Cars following have carried these supplies,” Schwartz tweeted, sharing an image that showed several tables and coffee had been setup outside the grocery store. “Last time I saw a tent setup was at Occupy City Hall. Shoppers cannot leave.”
Rochester journalist and radio host Bob Lonsberry also shared footage of the scene outside Wegmans on Twitter, condemning the Rochester Police Department for “letting it happen.”
“Hundreds of people trapped in the East Avenue [Rochester] Wegmans by this mob,” the Army veteran tweeted. “The Rochester Police Department is just watching and letting it happen.”
“I guess fire codes and trespassing aren’t things in Rochester anymore,” he continued. “What an embarrassing day for the city and the PD.”
According to reporter Justin Murphy, one protester said, “We’re more than just taxpayers in their capitalist system; we’re human beings and we demand to be treated as such.”
Another protester told Murphy that “the officers who killed Daniel Prude don’t live in our community; they live in the suburbs and out here.”
Murphy tweeted that pizza would soon be delivered to the demonstrators occupying the street in front of Wegmans, along with an image showing “BLM” and “Human dignity” scrawled outside the store in sidewalk chalk.
“Allowing the mob to shut down the East Ave [Wegmans], trapping at least a hundred people, is an immoral failing by the mayor [of Rochester] and the [Rochester police department],” Lonsberry tweeted.
“To kiss the ass of the mob, the rights of others are trodden, and the city dies even more,” he continued.
According to Forbes, Prude had been in the hospital for suicidal thoughts prior to his encounter with police.
During the viral arrest, body camera footage showed police physically restraining Prude for roughly two minutes before the 41-year-old vomited and fainted.
Prude was purportedly resuscitated while being transported to the hospital, but was taken off life support by his family a week later.
During the encounter, a mesh hood was placed over Prude’s head to protect officers from saliva because he was repeatedly spitting and saying he had COVID.
The Associated Press reported that the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office found Prude’s dead was caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint” with contributing factors being excited delirium and acute intoxication by the drug PCP.
“(The paramedic) stated that the observations of the subject were that he could be experiencing ‘excited delirium,’ which she described as a condition in which the subject is experiencing agitation and aggression; increased heart rate and respiration; overheating — which she stated would explain the subject being naked on a night when temperatures were around 32 degrees and mixed snow and precipitation — sweating, flushed appearance; excessive strength, a high tolerance for pain and incoherent speech,” the police report of the incident read.