Today, June 3, there will be a Black Lives Matter protest held at the common park stage on Main St. in Canandaigua at 2 p.m. The call to participants was made on social media and was posted to several Ontario County town group pages.
A few hours after that post, another post appeared on the Facebook Honeoye Happenings page that said, “Attention: The Ontario Country Militia has been called up to protect store owners and private property.”
The Canandaigua Police Department, aware of the planned demonstration stated on their Facebook page, “We hope that this event will be peaceful and respectful of personal and public property. We also want to remind anyone that is planning to participate that the COVID-19 pandemic is still on-going.”
On the Honeoye Happenings page of Facebook, the call for attendance at the Black Lives Matter protest was made by Jacqui Boorman. In her post, Boorman emphasized this was a peaceful protest, and masks were expected. Within 3 and a half hours, over 225 comments were made on the post. The same call went out on other community Facebook pages as well.
This created a backlash controversy for and against the protest. Recent protests in nearby Rochester, which has a large police department, resulted in large-scale vandalism, looting and thefts afterward. Originally the call for a Black Lives Matter protest in Rochester was also for a peaceful protest.
The called for “militia” on the Facebook page also gave specific instructions reading, “Please assemble at 1300 hrs June 3rd 2020 at the county Court house 27 N Main St, Canandaigua, NY 14424 for your assignment .Attention the assembly point has been changed . Assemble point ALPHA is the new location.”
Meanwhile the police also posted about the event, “Please remember to wear face covering so that you may all express and air your grievances safely. What we saw occur to George Floyd is not consistent with the values and principles of the policing profession or the Canandaigua community, and as such, the Chief of Police, City Manager and Mayor will join the event.”