Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Police Chief La’Ron Singletary say they need your help resolving community-police issues and solving crime in the city.
The two city officials came together for a news conference on Tuesday to address newly released video showing what led up to an incident between Christopher Pate and former Rochester Police Officer Michael Sippel.
The graphic body camera video shows Pate wrestled to the ground, blood on the pavement, and the moment he was tased. It also shows Pate begging for mercy and praying in the back of a police car, and officers talking to each other after the incident.
Warren became emotional describing the events that took place.
“I know people that have been treated like that, and that was back in 1964,” Warren said. “We’re talking about 2019, 2018 that this happens in our city, after the riots of ’64. That was the most troubling— treating him as if he was not human.”
In November, a grand jury decided to drop charges against Sippel’s partner Spenser McAvoy. Singletary says McAvoy remains on the force but is undergoing internal investigation.
“We had two officers that were involved in this incident. RPD is 700 plus officers who are out there doing their job each and every day,” Singletary said. “The conduct that they exhibited is not reflective of the rest of the men and women of the Rochester Police Department.”
Pate has filed a notice of claim against the city, but a lawsuit has not been launched yet. Warren would not comment on whether negotiations of a settlement are in progress.
“Our law department is in communication with his [Pate’s] law attorneys and we will continue until this situation is resolved,” Warren said.
Following several recent violent incidents, city officials say they are amping up efforts to improve community-police relations so that more people feel comfortable speaking up when they have information.
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“It’s troubling but we do know many of these are not random shootings,” Warren said. “We’ve seen people taking the law into their own hands and retaliation between different groups.”
“We cannot do this alone. We need information,” the mayor continued. “We need help and that’s the way the community can help us.”