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Man alleges being punched by RPD officers while handcuffed

Reverend Stewart Lewis with the United Christian Leadership Ministry held a news conference Thursday morning on behalf of Christopher Pate, the victim. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The Rochester Police Department said it is conducting an internal investigation into allegations of police brutality.

Reverend Stewart Lewis with the United Christian Leadership Ministry held a news conference Thursday morning on behalf of Christopher Pate, the victim.

On May 5, Stewart said Pate was mistaken for a suspect in an ongoing investigation. Pate claims two RPD officers detained him at the corner of Fulton Avenue and Bloss Street. The officers asked him twice for his identification, which he said he gave to one of the officers.

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Pate said he was then grabbed, had a Taser used on him, then was handcuffed. While he was handcuffed, Pate claims one of the officers punched him in the face, causing occipital bone and jaw fractures, as well as other damage to his mouth.

Officers charged him with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Stewart said the case went in front of Rochester City Court Judge Maija Dixon, who threw out the charges against Pate.

"Mr. Pate was beaten, assaulted, and racially profiled," Stewart said. "He had not committed a crime. There is a war being perpetrated on black men both locally and nationally."

Rochester Police Department Deputy Chief LeRon Singletary said that the department is taking the allegations seriously.

"With these allegations, it is important for us to know what occurred and important for the community to know what occurred," Singletary said.

RPD said they are reviewing whether there were any surveilance cameras recording at nearby businesses, or any police body-worn cameras during the incident.

During the news conference, Stewart claimed one of the officers gave a statement that his body-worn camera was deactivated and that he had to switch it back on. He is calling for criminal charges to be filed against the officers.

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