Woman at Center of Viral Arrest at Rochester's Black Lives Matter Rally Not Backing Down
A Rochester woman arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest continues to make both local and national news. Sapphire Williams was back in city court Wednesday morning.
Williams is not backing down and is moving forward to have disorderly conduct charges dropped following last month's Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Rochester.
Williams arrived in city court with her attorney Van White who rejected an offer by the district attorney's office to have the case dismissed as long as Williams stays out of trouble for six months.
Williams was arrested along with dozens of other protesters at a July 8 Black Lives Matter rally on East Avenue. That arrest happened during an interview with Time Warner Cable News reporter Tara Grimes. Williams' attorney says nowhere on the tape do you hear officers ask his client to leave the area.
"Black lives matter, white lives matter, but you know what matters to all of us - white, brown? The law. The law matters. If the law says you have to tell someone to leave first before you arrest them, particularly in the context of a person exercising something we cherish so much in this country - the First Amendment," said White.
"It's important to me that this case move forward. Simply because so many cases similar to mine, that may or may not have been recorded, where innocent people were acting well within their rights, justice has not been served in those instances," said Williams.
Motions in the case will be argued in September. In the meantime, Rochester Police Chief Mike Ciminelli said he cannot comment on a pending case. Ciminelli, along with the mayor, say officers do what they can to ensure a balance of public safety while protecting the first amendment rights of everyone.