The city of Buffalo was not spared the fiery mayhem that has erupted in Minneapolis, New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta in the wake of the police killing of unarmed African American man George Floyd. The arrest of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who pinned Floyd on the ground by pressing his knee on the man's neck, did little to subdue the riots. A state of emergency went into effect in Buffalo at 10 p.m. ET Saturday night as rioters and looters began wreaking havoc.
WBEN's Brendan Keany, who provided some first-person coverage of the event, said what started as a peaceful march suddenly became terrifying and violent when the marchers got back to Niagara Square. He witnessed a car "rush into a crowd of protesters" and then those same individuals flooded the car, and went after the driver. He captured part of it on video.
It was then, Keany said, that "a rush of rioters went to the federal courthouse." One rioter actually threw a flammable object through a city hall window.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown spoke directly to the perpetrator. Even though Brown was wearing a face mask, his message came through loud and clear.
WE'RE GONNA FIND YOU: Mayor Byron Brown has a message for the "idiot" who started a fire in city hall. pic.twitter.com/rxkqtvOG99— News 4 Buffalo (@news4buffalo) May 31, 2020
"We have you on camera, you idiot," Brown said. "We're going to find you and prosecute you to the full extent of the law. So get ready, because we're coming."
And they may be coming sooner than he thinks. Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo confirmed to WBEN on Sunday that he and his force have recovered "some extremely good footage" of the criminal who launched the object at city hall.
"He was foolish enough to do this in front [of] a news crew," Rinaldo noted. "So we will be putting a laser focus on that person to bring them to justice."
Seven arrests were reportedly made Saturday night in Buffalo. Rinaldo said that they are working on additional arrests, with the help of detective squads who are reviewing other video surveillance.