A Black Lives Matter protest led to mass arrests Friday night in Rochester, New York, USA Today reports. Police Chief Michael Ciminelli says 74 people were arrested when protesters blocked traffic around 10pm. According to NBC News, police thought the protest was going to end earlier in the evening; officers put on riot gear when it didn't. Ciminelli says there were more than 100 officers and 400 or so protesters on the scene. He says officers didn't "blindly make arrests." But protesters say arrests shouldn't have been made at all. "There wasn't anything wrong," one protester tells USA Today. "We were peacefully protesting.” Organizer Ashley Gantt says protestors sat down when police moved in to avoid being seen as aggressive. "I'm not disappointed because I wouldn't expect anything less from the police," she says.
Protests over the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were held around the country Friday, including actions in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Detroit, Nashville, and San Francisco, CNN reports. The protests were largely peaceful, with Black Lives Matter having condemned violence against police officers in a statement earlier. In Phoenix, police used pepper balls to keep protesters away from a freeway and arrested three people for throwing rocks. Around 2,000 protesters blocked an interstate ramp in Atlanta. Back in Rochester, Ciminelli and the city's mayor apologized to two TV reporters who were briefly detained during the protest. Despite 74 arrests, there were no reports of property damage or officer injuries.