Rochester, N.Y. - The same group of ministers that stood behind the woman struck in the head by a Rochester police officer during an arrest last month is coming together again to condemn the tripling of her bail.
"[Judge Francis Affronti’s] justification was that at some moment down the road she may have another conflict with law enforcement," says Rev. Lewis Stewart, one of the pastors in the United Leadership Ministry. Stewart accuses the judge of "playing Gandalf now and being prophetic as to Ms. Hardaway’s future behaviors."
Brenda Hardaway was arrested with her brother late last month after she intervened in his arrest. A video surfaced showing her struggling with an officer who then hit her on the head.
The group of spiritual leaders has scheduled a news conference Friday to address Affronti’s ruling, which they view as unjust, whimsical and bordering on racism.
The group is calling for an investigation into Officer Lucas Krull and want him brought up on criminal charges. Sgt. Elena Correa, a spokeswoman with the RPD, says that police are in the preliminary stages of their internal investigation into whether the officer violated any procedures. She also disclosed that the investigation has been difficult because the neighbors and the Hardaways have been unwilling to help. Neither Brenda nor her 16-year-old brother, Romengeno, have filed a formal complaint against any of the arresting officers.
Stewart says that they are planning a police and community forum to allow an open discussion on the actions taken by officers in the arrest so there is understanding on all sides of the issue. Stewart also discussed the possibility of holding a rally in front of RPD headquarters at the Public Safety Building on Exchange Blvd. to emphasize their concerns.