After days of rallies and not hearing a response, protestors have decided to take their fight against the Locust Club one step further. This morning they began blocking the entrance.
Overnight, they chained themselves to the Club’s sign in hopes the Rochester Police District and Locust Club will finally respond to them regarding a controversial training officers are taking this week.
“We decided to escalate,” said Milo Ehrenberg, an activist and organizer of the protest. They wouldn’t name the other two protestors for legal reasons.
“We’re going to be here until they make us leave. We’re not going to let up.”
The protest is over the Force Science training for more than 60 RPD officer. They started rallying outside of the Club Monday and also performed a mock trial. They’ve been calling the Club consistently as well, organizing a Facebook event to encourage others to do the same.
According to Ehrenberg, the training encourages officers to escalate violence. They said the traveling training focuses on finding evidence for why officers are justified in shooting people.
“It’s sort of for a lot of reasons,” said Ehrenberg. “As a symbol for how police brutality impacts us. Also to intentionally disrupt this training. I think it could be the cause of a lot of violence in our community.”
However, Michael Mazzeo, president of the Locust Club, said in a previous interview with OM the police union advocated for the training because it’s the best one. He said the training teaches law enforcement to evaluate and properly analyze use of force but that it expands on the current models of discussion. Dr. William Lewinski created Force Science and his work made headlines when he posted a video showing how quickly someone can shoot at an officer and then turn their back, justifying a number of back shootings.
“We evaluated all types of training,” said Mazzeo. He argued the training is about analyzing force not advocating for it. “Technology has advanced but training how we evaluate that technology has not advanced.”
According to Force Science, officers learn to thoroughly and accurately remember details, how stress and trauma can impact officers’ memories and understand maintaining their cool. Mazzeo added it’s not just police officers taking the training nationally, but also lawyers.
All three protestors plan to continue blocking the Club until they are removed or officials and the Locust Club respond to their actions. Ehrenberg said earlier Mazzo brought them sandwiches and told them what they were doing was illegal. They state they donated the sandwiches and want more discussion.