ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — First Church of God Rev. Lewis Stewart said the City of Rochester is in chaos and called for more specific goals going forward in a press conference Wednesday morning.
“I don’t think RPD needs to be a part of the conversation, RPD is the culprit,” Rev. Stewart said.
Rev. Stewart said he is calling for:
- Arrest and prosecution of officers who killed Daniel Prude
- Total re-imagining of the way policing is done, including the criminal justice system
- Free the People ROC and UCLM leaders meet
- A day of peace and reflection
Rev. Stewart also said that Civil Rights Leader Rev. Jesse Jackson will be visiting Rochester soon. Rev. Jackson has been visiting cities across the country going through similar calls for reform.
The reverend also called out Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s recent appointment of interim police chief, Mark Simmons.
“I think if she had thought correctly she could’ve put someone else in place as interim chief, but she did not,” Rev. Stewart said. “I don’t think RPD needs to be a part of the conversation, RPD is the culprit.”
Rev. Stewart said he applauds the work of local Black Lives Matter organizations like Free the People ROC, who have organized ongoing protests in the city, but said the focus of their demands — like Mayor Warren’s resignation — needs to change.
“Calling for the resignation of this official and that official is not a goal,” Rev. Stewart said.
MORE | Police disperse protesters after 24-hour demonstration at Rochester City Hall for Daniel Prude
The reverend added that he has “nothing but respect” for the protesters, saying that “protesting is the American Way.” He said he speaks regularly with Free the People and NYCLU organizer Ashley Gantt, adding that he sees her as an adopted daughter. He says he’s invited Free the People to meet at the church with UCLM.
“All of us are in this situation together we must resolve it together we cannot remain in this chaos,” Rev. Stewart said. “Our goals must be clear achievable objectives about justice.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.
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