News & Politics

Rochester Diners Terrorized by BLM, and the Restaurant Sides With the Rioters?

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

Rochester, N.Y., is the latest American city experiencing unrest after Democrat Mayor Lovely Warren was accused of covering up controversial footage of Daniel Prude’s death during his interaction with police in March. The facts of the event are not entirely clear yet as only portions of bodycam footage have been released. The Prude family claims that police killed Prude in cold blood. Rochester police claim that Prude was high on PCP and acting violently, spitting on officers, and claiming to be COVID positive. Available video doesn’t seem to support the police narrative, but it’s difficult to tell.

Waiting for the facts is a tough thing to do in this climate, where Marxist rioters are waiting for the next outrage to use to spread chaos and violence for political reasons. Protesters took to the streets of Rochester and have caused significant damage to private property including the Ox and Stone, one of three restaurants owned by Swan Family Restaurants.

On Friday, violent protesters came into Ox and Stone and terrorized diners by turning over tables, breaking glass, throwing chairs, and screaming at them that the “party is over.” In one harrowing moment, a large man approached a table full of women and swept all the glassware off the table and shattered it all over them.

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Here is the footage of the scary event.

It is unknown if diners were injured as they fled the scene immediately and haven’t been heard from since. The media did not interview any of them. The pro-riot narrative claims there’s nothing to see here and the only things that were damaged were inanimate objects. Local media are reporting this as the actions of a few instead of the whole mob. Video evidence shows that mobs of people were coming through the windows (not just a few) while diners fled in fear for their lives. On Twitter, #Rochester was trending but none of these videos were coming up in the search. If you wanted to see it, you had to go looking for it.

This is the narrative that the pro-rioters are trying to sell: The protesters were peaceful and that includes turning over tables where people are dining and breaking glass all over them. Burning bus stops is also peaceful, according to the pro-riot apologists.

But even more shocking is that the owners of the three restaurants affected by the rioters issued a statement of support—not for their customers, but for the criminals who terrorized their patrons and destroyed their property. This is not a joke.

Despite what videos might depict, we lost some glassware last night. You cannot deny the anger and hurt our community is feeling right now. As always the actions of a few agitators are amplified louder and louder as videos are shared and conclusions are drawn. We, now and always, stand with those standing against injustice.

This is gaslighting. Both the restaurant and the local media are determined to tell you your lying eyes are wrong, that customers were not assaulted, even though we saw the assaults on camera, and that somehow only a few people were involved, when video evidence shows the opposite. How much more of this outright deception can we take?

The conclusion that Rochester citizens should make is that the restaurants owned and operated by the Swan family, who took the side of rioters using terror tactics on innocent patrons, are not safe dining establishments. Further, since the management has decided to cover for and take sides with the domestic terrorists who assaulted their customers, they may be liable for any further incidents in their locations that harm patrons.

“The standard for when someone is liable is ‘foreseeable harm,'” says Rochester attorney Chad Hummel. “Is it reasonably foreseeable that people could get injured if the restaurant continues to operate without taking precautions to protect their customers after this?” Ox and Stone management has not even addressed the risk to their customers or acknowledged that any of them were assaulted. “Generally speaking, a party can’t be liable for criminal conduct because it’s never foreseeable. If this is a normal situation and vandals cause damage there’s no case,” continued Hummel. “But this is an entirely different dynamic. It is a known quantity now and the restaurant is sanctioning the crime. They invited the crime and told their customers it wasn’t as bad as it really was.”

Local radio talk show host Shannon Joy spoke to PJ Media about the puzzling stance by the restaurant group. “This is the classic example of Stockholm syndrome. These people love their oppressors, and I don’t see how you can help them. If they’re okay with BLM burning, looting, or destroying their restaurant, then I don’t know what else to say,” she said. “The community at large, from what I’m seeing, is becoming very wary of the antics of BLM. I’m seeing a lot of pushback against BLM supporters and leaders that if they want to achieve something, violence and mayhem is not the way to achieve it. This movement has to mature and evolve into legitimate activism to accomplish anything. People are getting sick of it.”

Peter Vasquez, president of  The Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York, told PJM, “What we are seeing here is a lot of misinformation on behalf of BLM by the media. It was put out as a peaceful protest. They didn’t report the restaurants that were attacked.” Vasquez said many restaurants on Alexander Avenue were hit, but media reports glossed over them, only mentioning Ox and Stone. “Just about every restaurant on Alexander was terrorized,” he said. “A lot of them are afraid to speak out.”

The Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York is a minority-operated foundation that works for justice. “Personally, I believe that black lives matter but the tactics the BLM organization are using are terroristic. Their attempt is to break down the Western family unit,” Vasquez explained.

The goals of the Frederick Douglass Foundation are the opposite. “We should be finding solutions. If riots worked we would have ended this issue in the ’60s. Riots do nothing but cause animosity and only serve to kick the can down the road,” said Vasquez. “From our perspective, we believe in a cultural change. We need to support a culture of education,” he said. “Rochester is the third worst school district in the state. The Frederick Douglas Foundation of New York supports school choice at the local level, local control so that local authority has the ability to make changes based on local needs, and we support all police departments being pulled away from the control of politicians.” Vasquez added, “We should focus on strengthening the family and criminal justice reform.”

Vasquez was adamant, after researching BLM and attempting to connect with leadership, that it’s a lost cause. “We don’t stand with the BLM organization. We’ve been reaching out to BLM since 2012 but their intent isn’t to rebuild the family and strengthen our communities. They have one intent and it’s not for the betterment of the black and brown communities,” he said. “If the police acted wrongly then we have a system that will punish them appropriately, but they deserve their due process. We do take issue with how long it took to bring the Prude incident to light but we must wait for a proper investigation.”

The comments on Ox and Stone’s Facebook page indicate the decision to support rioters who assaulted customers didn’t go over well with the public. Here’s a sampling of the hundreds of comments.

Ox and stone trying to justify violence against their own customers. Winning strategy for future success
No concern for the safety of your patrons. My guess your concern for food safety is not much better. You guys are a lawsuit waiting to happen.
The fact you side with violence in your establishment and not are as concerned about customers safety is terrible. I’m betting not one of those thugs ever spent a dime in your place. Terrible business plan. I’d close, move and change my name because you’ll lose most of your business.
How can you side with the “protesters “? They harassed and terrorized your paying customers … That’s crazy
You’re afraid of the terrorists BLM and Antifa. So scared you threw your customers under the bus. You gave up rights for safety. You deserve none and will get none. Their coming back for your money now…and you’ll give it to them. Wish I could be there to see that. Another year and you’ll be gone and rightfully so.
“We lost a few glasses last night”…ummm no. You lost your integrity as a business. You allowed YOUR customers to be ATTACKED while dining at your establishment. Then rather than condemn the violence, you DOWNPLAY it and side with the agitators because they’re “protesting injustice”. Enjoy the unemployment line, hope it was worth it. Maybe BLM will help you out.
Your business model of “no customers wanted” isn’t sound. I hope it gets shuttered for good.

PJM reached out to Rochester Police for a statement on the violence against diners and received no response at the time of publishing.