Man who says he was beaten by Rochester police takes stand in officer’s trial

Local News

The man who says he was beaten by two Rochester police officers in a case of mistaken identity took the stand as one of the officers faced trial on Friday.

Christopher Pate’s testimony differed from Thursday’s testimony from the other officer on the scene, who said Pate only flashed his ID but didn’t show it when asked. Pate said Friday he stopped and handed it to the first officer but refused when Officer Sippel, the second officer, came up and asked him for it again. 

During cross-examination, Sippel’s attorney tried to show that Pate’s memory of what happened isn’t accurate. He did that by asking Pate to confirm parts of his previous description of events from his testimony in front of a grand jury and Pate said there were certain parts he couldn’t remember.

“I think an accurate recording of what happened is important for everyone to understand. Again I think Mr. Pate believes his version of events, I don’t think that version is accurate and I think the accurate version does not support an assault,” said Clark Zimmermann, Sippel’s attorney.

The doctor who treated Pate that day also testified Friday. He said there was only trauma to the left side of Pate’s face. On Thursday Sippel’s partner testified that Sippel was on Pate’s left side during the interaction.

Christopher Pate says he suffered orbital fractures after the attack in Rochester last May. He says he has since had two surgeries and still suffers from blurry vision.

Officer Michael Sippel faces an assault charge for the incident on Fulton Avenue in Rochester.

In court, Sippel’s partner, Spenser McAvoy, who wasn’t indicted by a grand jury in the case, said the officers believed Pate was a wanted man: James Barrett. Officers stopped Pate, who McAvoy says flashed an ID card, but kept walking.

Body camera video showed the officers continuing to follow and the altercation escalated.

Police later charged him with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. But, those charges were dropped after prosecutors reviewed body camera footage from the incident.

Follow along with updates from court by following News 8’s Kayla Green on Twitter.

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