BLM Rochester Calls On Local Elected Officials to Donate Money From Police Lobby to Bail Funds


LAST UPDATED: Thurs 6/4/20 at 6:00PM

(WXIR-Rochester) Organizers of last Saturday's Black Lives Matter rally in Rochester issued a list of demands Monday.

That list includes a call for City of Rochester elected officials and candidates to "return any and all contributions from law enforcement" and "donate all money from the police lobby to local bail funds" that have been set up for people arrested during George Floyd solidarity protests nationwide.

Reclaiming the Narrative took a look at campaign finance disclosures for sitting Democratic officials and candidates in our area. 9 of them have received at least $28,000 from the Rochester Police Locust Club and other law enforcement Political Action Committees (PACs) over the years.

Here’s what we found (list may be incomplete):

City of Rochester

  • Jackie Ortiz, City Council, At-Large: $2000 from Rochester Police Locust Club since 2013 (including $1500 in 2017)

  • Melissa Barrett, City Court Judge: $2000 from Rochester Police Locust Club since 2016 (including $1500 in 2019)

  • Mitch Gruber, City Council, At-Large: $1000 from Rochester Police Locust Club in 2017

  • Malik Evans, City Council, At-Large: $1000 from Rochester Police Locust Club in 2017

  • Van White, RCSD School Board President: $500 from Rochester Police Locust Club in 2010 (during candidacy for NYS Assembly)

Monroe County

  • Adam Bello, County Executive: $3250 from Rochester Police Locust Club since 2016 (including $2500 in 2019)

  • Jamie Romeo, Candidate for County Clerk: $1500 from Rochester Police Locust Club in 2018 (none during current campaign)

  • Joe Morelle Jr. County Legislator: $350 from Rochester Police Locust Club since 2013

New York State

  • Harry Bronson, NYS Assembly District 138: $16400 from law enforcement groups since 2009 (including $1000 since March 2019); contributors include Rochester Police Locust Club, Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association PAC, NYS Association of PBAs, Police Benevolent Association of NY PAC, NYS Troopers PAC, NYS Correction Officers PBA, Monroe County Law Enforcement Association

Officials Respond To Public Pressure

Following public pressure, City Councilmember Mitch Gruber said publicly on Facebook Tuesday night that he would commit to "match what I accepted from the Locust Club with a contribution to the Avenue Blackbox Theatre in support of Black Lives Matter." Gruber added, "Furthermore, I will not accept, nor do I have reason to suspect I would be offered, the Locust Club's endorsement in the future."

City Councilmembers Malik Evans and Jackie Ortiz have also reportedly committed to donating contributions to Black organizations, although we have been unable to confirm the details.

On Wednesday afternoon, Assemblymember Harry Bronson pledged to donate money his campaign has received from law enforcement to Rochester Black Pride, The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, and Flower City Noire Collective. Bronson also pledged to co-sponsor bills to increase law enforcement transparency, including a proposal to repeal NYS Civil Rights Law 50-a which has been used to shield police disciplinary records from public scrutiny.

We will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.