U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that two defendants have been arrested and charged in separate complaints with civil disorder for their roles in violent weekend protests in the City of Rochester. Adam Green, 20, of Dansville, NY, and Dallas Williams-Smothers, 20, of Rochester, NY, each face five years in prison if convicted.
According to the criminal complaints, there were two nights of violent protests in Rochester following the public disclosure on September 2, 2020, of Daniel Prude’s death on March 30, 2020, one week after an encounter he had with RPD police officers. Those violent protests resulted in property damage and physical injury to several Rochester Police Department (RPD) police officers.
As alleged, during the evening of September 5, 2020, a group of approximately 1,500 protesters gathered at the intersection of Broad Street and Exchange Boulevard, located a block north of RPD headquarters. The protestors blocked all lanes of traffic on Broad Street and all lanes of traffic on Exchange Boulevard between Broad Street and Main Street. The group extended from the intersection of Broad Street and Exchange Boulevard to the intersection of State Street and Main Street. As a result, law enforcement officers shut down Exit 14 on Interstate 490 in Rochester for approximately eight hours and the State Street exit on the Inner Loop in the City of Rochester for approximately one hour. Protesters were repeatedly asked by an RPD sound truck to leave the area on the sidewalks or be subject to arrest for Disorderly Conduct for impeding traffic. Several members of the group disregarded those messages, remained in the streets, and continued to block the intersection. Defendant Green – who was wearing a black helmet and carrying a makeshift wooden shield – was part of the group that refused to disperse.
Thereafter, RPD declared an unlawful assembly because of the criminal activity, which included protesters hurling rocks, bottles, lit fireworks and other objects, shining flashlights, and pointing lasers at police officers. In an effort to clear the intersection, RPD officers approached the remaining members of the crowd who refused to leave. As one officer approached defendant Green, swung the wooden shield that he was carrying, striking the officer in the forehead portion of his helmet. After being told he was under arrest, Green resisted and fought with the officer and another officer who was assisting. Green was eventually handcuffed and arrested. The officer suffered a cut and abrasion on the bridge of his nose from being struck in the head by the wooden shield.
At approximately 11:20 p.m. that night, an RPD officer observed Williams-Smothers ignite a mortar-style, commercial grade firework and throw it at a line of uniformed RPD officers as they attempted to address a crowd at the intersection of State Street and Main Street. The firework detonated in the immediate vicinity of the officers, causing a loud explosion and creating a risk of serious injury to the officers. Williams-Smothers then fled the area on foot. After a physical description of the defendant was communicated to RPD personnel, he was apprehended and arrested in the area of 4 Commercial Street. At the time of his arrest, officers searched several pouches that were attached to a belt Williams-Smothers was wearing. Inside one of the pouches, officers recovered two mortar-style, commercial grade fireworks, each of which was three inches long and one inch wide, shaped like a light bulb, and had a fuse protruding from the stem.
The complaints are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief La’Ron Singletary; the New York State Police, under the direction of Acting Major Barry Chase; Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy; the Brighton Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Catholdi; the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, under the direction of under the direction of Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci; the Dansville Police Department, under the direction of Sergeant Shannon Griese; and the United States Marshal’s Service, under the direction of United States Marshal Charles Salina.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.