The uprising and violence over the past weekend in Rochester and across the nation are reminding some people about the 1964 Race Riots in the city of Rochester. 

The filmmaker of “July ’64” says what caused the 1964 riots was very similar to what led to violence this past week in Rochester and across the nation.

“It had everything to do with pent up anxiety around issues of education, employment, healthcare and aggressive police tactics in Rochester, New York,” said Carvin Eison, the filmmaker of "July '64.”

What You Need To Know

  • Filmmaker of "July '64" draws parallels between violence today in Rochester and in 1964 Race Riots

  • He says riots and unrest this weekend are a result of racial issues that have reached a boiling point 

  • Man who lived through the '64 riots says he doesn't agree with the looting today

  • He says people need to vote for change and police recuitment and training needs reform

Walter Cooper, who lived through the 1964 Race Riots in Rochester said, “The police department had the habit of bringing the K-9 dogs around as if trouble was starting, but it was an instrument of actually to bring fear into the lives of the kids.”

The 1964 Race Riot, or “Uprising” as some called it, started at a street dance after police were called on a man that had too much to drink. Police brought police dogs and arrested the man during the incident.

Cooper said, “people were infuriated because the K-9’s had been a symbol of hatred in the community, so they set one car on fire and the police chief, he was lucky to escape with his life.”

The filmmaker of “July ’64” says riots and unrest this weekend are a result of racial issues that have reached a boiling point for people throughout the country.

“When you add it all up, the open air, wholesale killing of black men and women has been going on for a long time, and people are saying it’s enough, it’s time to stop this now,” said Eison.

The filmmaker does not agree with the looting that happened in Rochester and believes people should vote, and get involved in the community to force change. Walter Cooper believes change should also happen with police recruiting and training.

“The police has to go into a community as its servant, not as its master, public service, you’re a servant to the people, to the public, not a master to maintain the status quo of racism,” said Cooper.