A Wegmans grocery store in Rochester, New York, shuttered its doors to protesters demonstrating on the one-year-anniversary of Daniel Prude‘s arrest on Tuesday.
In response to the group gathered in front of Wegmans, the store locked its doors claiming it was to ensure the safety of customers.
Shortly after, The Daily Wire, a conservative news site, framed the demonstration as something more insidious with the headline, “BLM protesters Mob Store, Trapping 100 Customers Inside: “We’re Shutting S*** Down!’
Kayla Green, a local reporter for WROC dispelled the false narrative by sharing an on the ground account of what transpired.
“Wegmans closed doors and customers were kept inside temporarily, but were let out soon after,” she tweeted. “Protesters never entered the store, protesters are currently listening to music and eating pizza in the parking lot, nobody is ‘trapped’ inside.”
The image used by The Daily Caller was also from a protest last year which took place at night.
The demonstration was organized by Free the People ROC who shared a flyer on social media. A large group of protesters marched through the streets of Rochester before making a stop in the Wegmans parking lot.
“We join the Prude family in calling for a day of action and remembrance on the one-year anniversary of Daniel Prude’s death by the RPD,” organizers shared in a Facebook Post.
According to Democrat & Chronicle reporter Justin Murphy, who also shared his account of the demonstration on Twitter, the protesters remained mainly peaceful, regularly engaging in a chant of “Black Lives Matter.” The videos and images show a crowd of less than 200 people in attendance.
In response to the protest, Green posted a statement from Wegmans regarding Tuesday morning’s protest.
“Our East Ave. store is currently closed due to protest activity taking place outside of the store,” the statement reads. “At this time, no customers remain in the store, and the doors will remain closed. Our number one priority is the safety of our employees and customers.”
On social media, users began to point out the rush to judgement on Wegman’s behalf, and the ways Black protesters are handled versus white protesters. The crowd gathered on Tuesday comprised mostly of white demonstrators due to demographics of the surrounding neighborhood.
Prude was arrested on March 23, 2020, by Rochester police officers who were called to respond to a mental health crisis. During the encounter officers forcefully pinned Prude to the ground and covered his head with a spit hood.
Prude died a week later on March 30. His cause of death resulted from “complications of asphyxia,” and was declared a homicide. In February, a grand jury declined to press charges against the involved officers.