On March 23, Wegmans on East Ave temporarily closed its doors. The supermarket giant and customers witnessed protesters storm its parking lot and bring business to a halt. Now, the billion-dollar business could be considering pressing charges.
Tuesday, activists marched to Wegmans on the first anniversary of the death of Daniel Prude. Prude is the man who died shortly after an altercation with officers from the Rochester Police Department. His death was ruled a homicide by the Monroe County Medical Examiner. However, the investigation by the Attorney General, Letitia James, cleared the officers of criminal charges. Now, activists are determined to keep the memory of Daniel Prude alive. The group marched to multiple locations in the city of Rochester after declaring March 23 Daniel's Day.
By late morning, protesters swamped the parking lot of the East Ave Wegmans. Allegedly, the location was targeted based on its history of employing the Rochester Police Department as security. A source close to the situation confirmed that possible charges could be brewing. Wegmans is private property and could determine protesters were trespassing. Protesters were also viewed in multiple videos posting signs and writing on various items within the parking lot. The source stated police were not authorized to remove protesters without permission from the store.
If Wegmans decides to file charges against protesters, there could be some backlash. The company is one of the largest employers in Monroe county but has remained silent on issues involving police misconduct. The Black Lives Matter movement has helped create awareness of police corruption throughout the country. Charging peaceful protesters with crimes could send a message that Wegmans is an adversary to social justice issues.
The multi-billion-dollar establishment has reopened but did not respond to our request for a statement.