(Rochester, NY) -- On Friday, January 29th, an officer of the Rochester Police Department used an “irritant” on a 9-year-old child who was handcuffed, but not compliant. Community activist and candidate for Rochester City Council, Alex White, is calling not only for an in depth, transparent investigation with publicly known consequences for those involved, but a complete change in use of force general orders to a de-escalation model.
“How many people have to be assaulted before the police and those who lead them are held responsible? How many more people have to die for action to be taken?” asked White, who is running for office for the first time as a Democrat. “The Mayor and City Council do not get to be ‘angry’ or ‘troubled’ by this incident because this isn’t the first time this has happened and nothing has changed. Just like in the Daniel Prude incident the police act in a way that can only be called inhuman and there are no changes. ”
White does not overlook the fact that all of the incidents of abuse by the police that become public knowledge involve people of color. “White kids are not being abused by the police. White people are not dying naked and handcuffed in the street. There is an institutional problem here and punishing one police officer will not fix it. We need institutional solutions and if those who can make those changes won’t, they need to step aside for those who will.”
White, 57, has run for Mayor and City Council in the past. Each time as a member of the Green Party, and each time including in his platform a plan to reduce the budget of the police to pay for anti-poverty and social welfare programs. Each time he has called for a change in policing to a restorative system with de-escalation as the guiding principle of the department. His 2021 platform includes the same as well as fully-funding the new Police Accountability Board. The rest of White’s platform can be seen at www.AlexWhiteForRochester.org.