Mayor Byron W. Brown has instituted a curfew in the City of Buffalo for the rest of this week.
The curfew comes in the wake of several days of unrest that have followed protests of police brutality, including an incident Monday night in which a state trooper was run over by an SUV on Bailey Avenue.
Brown said during Tuesday morning's announcement that Buffalo's curfew will last from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. every day through and including Sunday.
"To protect our residents, to protect our businesses, and to protect peaceful protesters exercising their freedom of speech rights, we will be implementing a curfew," Brown said.
The final day of the city curfew would be Sunday night into Monday morning. Essential workers are excepted.
Erie County instituted a countywide 8 p.m. curfew for Tuesday night only. Originally the county had imposed a curfew for Amherst, the Town of Tonawanda, Cheektowaga and West Seneca only. The curfews will be reviewed daily, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.
Brown said that a peaceful protest against police brutality was held during the day Monday, but that a different group was involved in the unrest on Bailey Avenue in the evening hours, with the SUV incident occurring at around 10 p.m.
Brown and Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said that a group known to law enforcement organized a protest and notified officials of its start and end time. That protest began at Niagara Square and wound its way to the East Side, concluding in daylight hours.
"The people who stayed after were not part of the protest," Brown said. "The people who stayed after were there for other reasons. They were not there to address issues of racial injustice or police brutality.
"For some people it was a cover to loot, to vandalize, to throw rocks, to try to injure," Brown said. "We cannot allow that to happen."
Brown said he has been contacted by several community members who have told him that their children have been affected by the unrest.
"I have been called by black parents, by white parents, by Hispanic parents, who say that their children are scared right now," Brown said.
"I want members of the community to hear what I am saying: Children in our community, of all backgrounds, are scared. They are frightened about what is happening right now. So we are going to do everything in our power to protect our residents, to protect our businesses, and to protect our community."
Brown said he doesn't think the city will request the assistance of the National Guard.
"We don’t believe we need the National Guard," the mayor said. "We will have a meeting with our police department leadership, myself and state law enforcement leadership today to look at additional planning needs.
"But our No. 1 priority is not to over-police our community, to over-police our city, and at the same time make sure that people are safe, that property is safe and that people who are peacefully protesting are safe."
Brown strongly recommended that people refrain from protesting daily, and that protests not be held after dark.
"Our recommendation is that people not try to protest every day," the mayor said. "There is a real danger to the community, to the protesters, particularly as protests try to stretch into darkness, of other things taking hold. Of looting, of people trying to set fires, of vandalism, of store owners, who live in the community, trying to protect their property. Some store owners, who are licensed gun owners, trying to protect the property that they've worked for.
"I am recommending to people that they have to use their heads right now. There is a lot of heat, there is a lot of passion, there is a lot of frustration, there are a lot of things that are frustrating people. There is a lot of fear out there.
"Protest with a purpose, and peacefully. If you don't have a purpose to protest, if you don't have a message to protest with, stay home."
Brown reiterated that protesters "give it a pause," to "please do not protest unnecessarily," saying that "the message is out. We get it. We feel it."
"I can tell the black community, that as a black man who happens to be mayor, or a mayor who happens to be black, I feel the sting and pain of racism every single day myself," Brown said.
"We understand the pain that people feel. We understand the anger that people feel. And it is so far beyond just police brutality. It is in every institution, it is in every system, it is in every part of American society, and some people feel it much more acutely than others."