Dozens of protesters marched Friday outside the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center while Mayor Byron W. Brown gave a speech that was momentarily disrupted by a smaller group protesting inside as well.
Seven protesters were arrested outside the convention center. The protesters inside the building were removed, but not arrested.
About half a dozen protesters stood up and chanted while Brown delivered his speech: "Mayor Brown, can't you see what your cops are doing to me?"
That group was protesting the recent death of Wardel Davis, 20, while in police custody. They stood up to chant after the lunch.
Brown continued his speech, seemingly ignoring the protesters, while police quickly escorted the small group outside.
"I knew there was something going on at the time, but I couldn't really hear it from the stage," Brown said later. "I just continued to deliver the speech."
Outside, as many as 100 people – organized by a group called Just Resisting – were protesting, according to Marielle Smith, a spokeswoman for the group.
The group was outside for about an hour, some carrying signs, some marching.
A small group, who police said blocked traffic, was arrested.
The seven arrested at the intersection of Court and Franklin streets were charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing of governmental administration and two were additionally charged with resisting arrest, according to Lt. Jeff Rinaldo, chief of staff for the Buffalo police department.
"People have the right to protest but when they break the law they will be arrested," Rinaldo said.
Police did not release the names of the protesters who were arrested. They confirmed, however, that Cariol Horne, a former Buffalo police officer, was among them.
Horne was dismissed from the Buffalo police department in 2008 with 19 years on the job after being brought up on departmental disciplinary charges. She had allegedly jumped on the back of another police officer while he was making an arrest. She claimed the officer was allegedly choking the man he was arresting.
Horne was found guilty by an arbitrator and fired.
After the arrests Friday, the protest dispersed.
The protesters claim the city has a "stop and frisk" policy that resulted in Davis' death, and are asking Brown to end the policy.
But Brown said Buffalo police do not have a "stop and frisk" policy.
"That is absolutely not true," Brown said. "Buffalo does not have a 'stop and frisk' policy, and Buffalo will never have a 'stop and frisk' policy."
Davis died after getting into a struggle with two Buffalo police officers on Feb. 7.
An autopsy was conducted. But police said the cause of death won't be determined until the results of toxicology tests come back.
"As I have said, any death of a member of our community prematurely is a tragedy, and my condolences to the family members and friends of Wardel Davis," Brown said.
"I have spoken to his grandmother to offer my condolences, and to assure her that there would be a thorough investigation."