Following a press conference held by Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott and Erie Police Chief Randy Bowers on the ongoing civil rights probe on Erie police, hundreds of community members rallied at Perry Square in downtown Erie for justice in the Montrice Bolden case.
The feeling at Thursday’s rally was unity and togetherness, while at the same time they were seeking justice and accountability after Bolden suffered injuries during a June arrest by the Erie police.
Bolden, 41, was taken to UMPC Hamot following a June 27 arrest outside of TJ’s Traffic Jam.
Bolden is in Erie County Prison on $100,000 bond on charges of simple assault, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, disarming a law enforcement officer without lawful authorization, DUI and other drug related charges.
Demonstrators stopped traffic on State Street for several minutes while moving from the east side of Perry Square to the west side of the park.
Demonstrators held signs and shouted “no justice, no peace” and “take that badge.”
“Let’s all come together,” said Loretta Hansbrew. “Come on, we shouldn’t be divided, there shouldn’t be any harassment, we can do better.”
Bolden’s mother, Linda Douglas, said her son’s violent arrest brings a larger issue to light.
“The Erie Police Department has been doing this all along,” Douglas said. “People cannot be continued to be treated like this.”
Not everyone in attendance Thursday was in support of the rally’s message, with some holding signs supporting the Erie police.
“We are not getting anywhere by presenting this front that all cops are bad,” said a Blue Lives Matter supporter, whose name was not given. “It’s only getting worse.”