Jesse Barksdale, the black owner of a Rochester, New York, multipurpose store that leases U-Haul vehicles, was reportedly “livid” after Black Lives Matter demonstrators reportedly set fire to at least three of his trucks in the early hours of Sunday morning.
What are the details?
A sign hangs outside of Barksdale’s business — “Proud to be Black Owned” — but that apparently didn’t stop who are believed to be Black Lives Matter demonstrators from burning down his business.
The city has erupted in riots and demonstrations following the release of bodycam footage capturing the late Daniel Prude’s arrest in March.
Prude died after being detained by members of the Rochester Police Department. His family is now calling for the officers — who have been suspended — to be charged with murder.
WHEC-TV’s Charles Molineaux tweeted photos of Barksdale’s devastated business on Sunday.
Molineaux captioned the photos, “Multiple trucks on fire at U-Haul on State Street at Brown. Rochester fire just arriving now.”
Molineaux later tweeted, “Three U-Haul trucks destroyed at J-Ribs on State Street. Owner Jesse Barksdale says he was bounced out of bed to respond. Livid over the destruction of his business.”
‘We are certainly not the enemy in this scenario’
Later on Sunday, the business’s Facebook page shared an update about the vandalism.
In a lengthy post, the business wrote, “Last night our business fell victim to violence spurred by misdirected anger. I wanted to make this post to share Jribs on state st. is a Native Rochester owned business.”
“We certainly are not the enemy in this scenario and are deeply saddened by the violence that occurred last,” the post continued. “In these trying times we as Rochestarians need to COME TOGETHER for our city and build eachother [sic] up, not destroy one another regardless of dividing factors.”
The post added, “We hope you can all help us spread peace, love, and positivity going forward.”
“I have had several people reach out about what they can do to help, or where they can send donations I have attached my Venmo account,” the post concluded. “We are in no way requesting donations but it is there for those who would like. The best thing you can do to help would be to come by the shop, chat with us and meet us, and help us grow our business by being a patron! Remember our shop is highly versatile, in addition to selling food we are also a convenience store AND a Uhaul rental/pick up destination. Thank you to those who support us, as we support you back!”
‘You have to stay persistent’
Barksdale and his business were both featured in July in the Democrat & Chronicle.
Barksdale, who also serves barbecue at his convenience store, grew up in poverty in the city, and was raised by his aunt after his mother died and his father was jailed.
According to the feature, Barksdale took special education classes in school because he wasn’t academically on-track, and barely graduated from high school.
Despite his struggles as a young man, Barksdale overcame and found himself happily at his store in the early hours of the morning every day to cut vegetables and prepare food for his customers.
“In life, you have to stay persistent,” he told the outlet.
The feature concludes, “Jesse said he gets the chills when he tells his story. He has not let his challenges with reading and writing deter him from owning a business, and he hopes to be an example for people who struggle in school. His message to them: ‘Dude, you can do it.'”