Woman sues RPD, claiming excessive force in viral video
Rochester, N.Y. - A woman who claims Rochester Police unlawfully arrested her in a takedown captured on video is now suing the police department.
Lentorya Parker says she was violently thrown to the ground and falsely arrested while trying to pick her daughter up from daycare on Hollenbeck Street last September.
Parker says she was caught in the cross hairs of a drug raid. She says she's ready to take her case to federal court and go to trial if need be, to prove a point.
Video, which outraged many, was captured on blue light cameras, on the body cameras of the officers arresting her and on a cell phone.
"I couldn't move," Parker told 13WHAM News. "When they tackled me to the ground, my whole body collapsed and my daughter was screaming for me."
Lentorya Parker and her lawyer, Charles Burkwit, are filing suit, claiming excessive force, battery and assault.
Last September, Rochester Police Officers arrested Parker, detained her and took her to jail overnight. A city court judge, however, just dismissed all criminal charges RPD filed against her.
Burkwit says what happened to Ms. Parker makes no sense.
"It's just a sad story: A mother picking her daughter up from daycare and getting assaulted by the police and arrested for no reason," Burkwit said.
Parker claims officers gave her six-year-old daughter a teddy bear during the arrest and said, "Sorry your mom is an animal."
The Rochester Police Department said Wednesday that they can't comment on pending litigation. However, last year, police union president Mike Mazzeo said the video didn't show the whole picture.
“When he [the officer] attempted to detain her, between what she was saying and her actions, that officer was struck,” said Mazzeo. “Nobody saw that. You can't see that from that video footage.”
Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said last September that an internal investigation would be conducted.
"Certain segments of the community have raised concern about this event, and they'll be tested in court," Chief Michael Ciminelli said.
Burkwit said a judge ruled in Ms. Parker's favor.
"Police lacked probable cause to charge Ms. Parker with any crimes noted," Burkwit continued.
Parker says she just wants justice for herself and for her daughter.
"I don't want anybody to go through what I went through," Parker added.
We do not know if any of the officers named in the suit were suspended or to what extent.