RPD working with feds to identify, charge instigators of weekend violence

A person of interest, identified by Rochester Police investigators only as 'S10', appears to place a device into a flipped city-owned vehicle. Shortly afterward, the car was in flames. (Photo: Rochester Police Department)

(WHAM) - Rochester Police have released new information and photos of people they're looking for in connection with Saturday's protest that turned into a fiery confrontation.

Federal investigators and prosecutors are now involved.

"Burning a police vehicle may violate some federal statutes. We're looking into that right now," said Rochester Police Captain Frank Umbrino.

One of the new photos shows a man identified only by 'S10'. He can be seen reaching under a police car with a cable. Nearby is a white box.

When by 13WHAM's Jane Flasch whether this makes it clear that the person brought the device intending to use it, Umbrino deferred.

"I can't comment on the pictures that we sent out," Umbrino said. "They are people we are interested in speaking with. They may be suspects, they may be witnesses. I can't tell you at this point in time."

The photos include a dozen people investigators want to identify and talk to. Two of the men - identified as S3 and S13 - are shown carrying what appear to be poles or sticks.

On Saturday afternoon, demonstrators for Black Lives Matter rallied and held speeches, then marched to the Public Safety Building. Police say the demonstration was controlled and nearly over.

"There was some organizers right in front of the Public Safety Building that were doing a good job," said Mike Mazzeo, president of the RPD union's Locust Club. "They said in ten minutes they were going to leave. To the best of their ability, they couldn't make that happen."

Chaos ensued. Windows smashed - cars overturned - police vehicles burned. Some of the original demonstrators could be seen in video of the scene running to safety.

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RPD says dozens of cell phone videos they reviewed show others struggling against what was unfolding.

"A good number of the peaceful protesters got into arguments and almost skirmishes with the folks who were doing the bad things," said Deputy Chief Mark Mura.

Now investigators have isolated a second group of photos taken from social media images.

Umbrino said Tuesday the department is also working with federal authorities to identify images on clothing and signs and flags that might be linked to outside causes.

"We are not only going to to whatever we can to hold them accountable but also to see what fueled their criminal activity. Whether it's a connection to some type of organization," he explained.

Police are also using social media to identify looters who struck city neighborhood stores later Saturday night.

"We will be making more arrests. If you were involved in that behavior you need to be looking over your shoulder," Umbrino said.