Mayor, RPD Chief address full body cam video from former officer’s trial

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the release of new police body camera footage.

The full-length video stems from the arrest of Christopher Pate by former Rochester police officer Michael Sippel, who was found guilty of assault, and fired in May.

The full version of the video shows what happened after the confrontation between the officers and Pate. This portion was not allowed in court during the trial.

Mayor Warren says Pate was treated inhumanely by Sippel. Singletary says the incident shouldn’t of happened and Sippel’s actions were embarrassing and unbecoming.

“The way he was treated — my family comes from the segregated south and to see a man in this day and age be treated inhumanely is what hurt the most,” Warren said.

City officials reassured that they do train officers and communicate with them, and that police officers are guardians of the peace and should act as public servants. They added that if a slip-up occurs, those responsible will be held accountable — adding that this specific case highlights that promise to the community.

“I can tell you we don’t train that,” Singletary said. “It was conduct that was unbecoming. I think the process worked here, the officer was held accountable, one of the officers is no longer a member of the Rochester Police Department, so I think the system works. What we hope to happen is that this never happens again. Accountability is the word of the day moving forward — accountability.”

The chief said RPD has put new policies in place since this incident. It makes sure supervisors watch body camera footage more often and whenever officers use force.

Mayor Warren said that due to the law, the full video couldn’t be released earlier because it was pending investigation, but was able to be released after Sippel’s conviction, and added there’s no further pending investigation on this matter.

She also said the other officer involved, Spenser McAvoy, is going through the internal hearing process and meetings are scheduled for the next few months.

Pate’s attorney, Mark Foti, said he’s glad the public gets to see the full picture of what happened.

“The main thing is you see this stark contrast over this condition that Christopher is in. He’s just physically and mentally broken to some degree and the officers who are bemoaning the fact that they have to do paperwork as a result of it and are capable of cracking jokes, and that difference is somewhat shocking to observe,” said Foti.

Foti also told News 8 his office has given a notice of claim to the city, saying they intend to file a lawsuit. He said if they do go ahead and file it instead of settling, that will likely happen by the end of the summer.

Sippel will be sentenced July 25.

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