Error in serving warrant leads to protest, 3 officers injured at Public Safety Building

Protest at PSB.jpg
A protest against a man's arrest led to three Rochester Police officers being injured at the Public Safety Building in downtown Rochester Tuesday night. (WHAM photo)

(WHAM) - The arrest of a Brighton man during a protest in Webster led to another protest - this one outside the Public Safety Building in Rochester - and injuries to three Rochester Police officers.

Tuesday night's incident began in Webster when Nicholas Wilt was taken into custody by Monroe County Sheriff's deputies during the Webster demonstration. Several have been held in Webster to demand the resignation of Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, who lives in Webster, and to decry injustice following the death of Daniel Prude.

Nicholas Wilt was picked up on a bench warrant, which said he failed to show up for court on charges related to a protest in Webster last month. After the warrant was served, police determined the bench warrant was issued incorrectly. Wilt had been given an appearance ticket for October 22 - not September 22, as the judge who issued the bench warrant had believed.

Nicolas Wilt's wife, Robin, who serves on the Brighton Town Board, said she showed police the appearance ticket with the correct date, but her husband would remain in jail for hours.

"If this could happen to this privileged white male, it can happen to any of us and that should send fear into our hearts," said Robin Wilt.

RPD attributed her husband's detainment to a clerical error and says they're looking into the matter. After Wilt was taken to the PSB, group of people arrived to protest Nicholas Wilt's arrest.

They entered the building. While inside, RPD said Jordan Hughes, 26, assaulted a Rochester Police sergeant and another officer with a weapon. Officers did not specify what the weapon was or how it was used in the alleged assault.

Hughes was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree assault.

The sergeant and officer, along with another officer, were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for their injuries. They have since been released.

Police said they are working with Rochester City Court to determine what led to the error in serving the warrant and are working to prevent it from happening again. But Robin Wilt said she believes this incident is bigger than just a clerical error.

"The focus should be on RPD and their processes and how this could happen and how many more erroneous bench warrants are out there in the public. We don’t know, because they haven’t told us why this occurred," she said.

Mike Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club, says Wilt had to be in taken into police custody in order for the mistake to be settled.

"The police officer who is out there locates a warrant and has to serve it. You have no choice on it. Corrections have to be made administratively and that’s certainly above any police officer working in the street," said Mazzeo.

Nicholas Wilt was released just before midnight.

"I would’ve been in jail until 9:30 in the morning if they hadn’t shown up at the Public Safety Building and I’m very grateful for that," he said.

Mazzeo believes Rochester is at a point for change, but injuries on either side won't do any good.

"I think together and jointly change can be made and certainly policing should be dictated by society. Police shouldn’t dictate what policing looks like and that’s understandably and now its time to get to work and make some change," said Mazzeo.