Rochester police made 20 arrests Sunday night just hours after the Puerto Rican Festival had ended. The arrests have some people questioning what the city can do to stop the trouble that traditionally follows the festival.
Rochester police made 20 arrests Sunday night just hours after the Puerto Rican Festival had ended.
The arrests have some people questioning what the city can do to stop the trouble that traditionally follows the festival.
Mayor Lovely Warren made it clear Monday that these arrests were not related to the festival and she supports Rochester's longest running ethnic festival.
However, some say the way the police respond to this festival every year may impact the way people behave.
“It was definitely a challenge. We had to basically tell them where we lived. They were very aggressive at first like something had gone on. They had guns out...something I’m not used to seeing," said Rochester resident Janet Canty.
For several years now, after the Puerto Rican Festival is long over, people take their cars slowly down North Clinton Avenue, waving the Puerto Rican flag and celebrating. In past years the celebration has become chaotic and resulted in arrests.
The Rochester Police Department has responded with a large show of force and officers in riot gear. This is the only Rochester festival that brings this kind of response from law enforcement each year.
"I don’t think they needed that much gear...I mean it does mean a lot that we have protection especially when we do have festivities and things are going on because some people don’t know how to enjoy them, but that much gear was like way too much," Canty added.
Rochester police arrested 20 people for anything from DWIs to traffic related offenses. People who live here or who take part in the annual parade question if the number of police officers play a role in how people respond to them.
"I feel like if they’re going to do it that way, they should do it with every festivity," said Rochester resident Donesha Kyles.
Mayor Warren says her officer’s actions were appropriate.
"I know that there were bottles thrown, there were rocks thrown, so they always have to be prepared," said Mayor Warren. "We want everybody to be safe, our officers to be safe as well...and so they have to be prepared for that and history has shown sometimes certain things happen and you don’t want an officer hit in the head with a rock or bottle or something like that, so they have to be prepared as well."