DA to send Rochester Police officers' excessive force case to grand jury


    (WHAM photo)

    Rochester, N.Y. - Monroe County's District Attorney is sending the investigation into two Rochester officers accused of using excessive force to a grand jury to move the case forward.

    Rev. Lewis Stewart, of United Christian Leadership Ministry, met with Sandra Doorley on Tuesday.

    “She was up-front and indicated that she would be impaneling a grand jury," he said. "She agrees enough that she’s going to go forward with this case. I think this is milestone.”

    It's a milestone, Stewart said, toward mending concerns about community-police relations.

    “This is not only a moral step in the right direction, it is also a bold step in the right direction in order to correct certain systemic issues that have been rampant for some time in law enforcement," Stewart said.

    Police officers Michael Sippel and Spenser McAvoy have been suspended after allegations they wrongfully arrested and beat Rochester man Christopher Pate back in May.

    It was a case of mistaken identity, and all charges were dropped.

    Rochester's police chief said the arrest a "failure," and Mayor Lovely Warren called the body camera footage of the incident "egregious" and asked the D.A.'s Office to pursue criminal charges.

    “I’m pleased with the outcome of that meeting," Stewart said. "Yes, I am. So we must remain vigilant and monitor, in terms of what’s expected, what’s to come in the future in this whole Christopher Pate incident.”

    Now, the case will be presented to a grand jury to determine whether there's enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

    “Hopefully, this will send a message that this type of behavior, this type of misconduct is not going to be tolerated by our community, and it’s not going to be tolerated by the Rochester community," Stewart said.

    13WHAM reached out to Doorley's office for comment. She wasn't available.

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