Downtown protest draws crowd in solidarity against police

Downtown protesters march against police

Saturday night's rally was organized following an incident between Syracuse Police officers and a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis.
Published: September 28, 2020 | Updated: October 7th, 2020 at 11:36 am
Saturday September 26, 2020. Clinton Square, Syracuse, New York. Rebirth Syracuse hosted a night of peaceful demonstration in response to a report that SPD assaulted a naked Black man who was experiencing a mental health crisis last night. They also seek to remind Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh of their demands to defund the police.
Rebirth Syracuse hosted a peaceful demonstration in response to a report that Syracuse Police assaulted a naked Black man who was experiencing a mental health crisis.

Another Syracuse protest against police brutality was held Saturday in response to an incident involving the Syracuse Police and a Black man who was experiencing a mental health crisis the night before.

The Saturday night demonstrations organized by Rebirth Syracuse began in Clinton Square and drew approximately two dozen participants. During the opening rally, organizers called for Syracuse Police to release the body camera footage, which organizers said would depict the man being forcefully restrained.

According to a statement from Syracuse Police on Monday, a call came in at approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday night with a description of a middle-aged Black man naked in the middle of a street hitting cars.

When officers arrived at the scene, the man was suspected to be in an “altered mental state” due to consuming an unknown substance. When officers approached the man, they attempted to talk to him and he complied, but upon attempting to stand up again the officers restrained him. Syracuse Police said the restraint was out of fear that the man would run back into traffic.

The man was taken to the hospital for further treatment and the case is currently under internal review, according to Syracuse Police. but no further statements have been released at this time.

Rebirth Syracuse organizers contended the Syracuse Police should not have remained silent on an incident that could be drawing the attention of mainstream media. On Saturday, organizers demanded more information including the body cam video be released prior to starting the march through downtown Syracuse.

As marchers passed through Armory Square, bystanders and people enjoying outdoor dining clapped and some gave the Black Power salute to show their solidarity. On Walton Street, onlookers showed their support with an ovation as the protestors made their way through the cluster of restaurants and looped back to Clinton Square, where organizers reaffirmed their objectives of defunding the police and establishing community programs in their place.

Organizers announced that they would be holding a rally and march at City Hall on Monday night to encourage the passing of The Right to Know Act for the City of Syracuse. The law would increase transparency between the police and the public, and would review policies such as “No Knock Warrants.”

Saturday September 26, 2020. Clinton Square, Syracuse, New York. Rebirth Syracuse hosted a night of peaceful demonstration in response to a report that SPD assaulted a naked Black man who was experiencing a mental health crisis last night. They also seek to remind Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh of their demands to defund the police.
Protestors march Saturday through downtown Syracuse from Clinton Square through Armory Square and then looping back to Clinton Square.
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is a contributor for The NewsHouse.