Young man claims RPD used excessive force in mistaken identity case

Ricky Bryant, 17, is claiming that Rochester Police officers "brutally assaulted" him on the final night of the Puerto Rican Festival earlier this month (WHAM photo)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHAM) - The family of 17-year-old Rickey Bryant said their son was brutally assaulted by Rochester Police Officers in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

They said Rickey was punched, kicked and shot at with pepper balls and a taser by nearly a half dozen officers, while six more looked on.

They said this happened near Remington and Boston around 10:30 the night of August 7, when officers were searching the area for an armed suspect. That's when Bryant's attorney said Rickey rode by on his bike.


Angela Bryant, the mother of Rickey said she does not understand why this happened to her son.

"Now, I fear for my son every time he walks out the door," Angela Bryant told 13WHAM News.

The family said they are now calling for criminal charges against the officers, an investigation by the Monroe County District Attorney's Office and a federal investigation. They claim excessive force against minorities at the hands of the Rochester Police Department is a pervasive problem.

Rickey Bryant's attorney said nearly 12 Rochester Police Officers never gave the 17-year-old a chance.

"Why did this happen?" Attorney Charles Burkwit asked. "Who are these officers? Why did they do what they did?"

He claims Rickey was riding his bike when he was cornered and brutally assaulted by half of the officers while the others looked on.

"They tasered him, used a pepper gun where they shot at his body multiple times, maced and kicked him while he was down," Reverend Louis Stewart added.

Burkwit said Rickey was mistaken for a suspect police were searching the area for.

"They kept screaming at him 'stop resisting arrest,'" Stewart added.

Pedro Luis witnessed what unfolded and called 9-1-1.

"They shot at him with the pepper balls more than 25 times," he said.

Rickey's mother, Angela, said she spoke with a lieutenant after the incident.

"Said they had a big problem," Angela conintued. "That they used excessive force on a young man who wasn't even a suspect."

Rochester Police issued a statement that said, "unfortunately we cannot comment on pending litigation, but this is an active investigation."

Reverend Stewart said police never filed paperwork and didn't have their body cameras active.

"Why were the body cameras not deployed since they were supposed to be rolled out the first of the month in the Clinton section?" Stewart asked.

He claims the excessive force fractured Rickey Bryant's orbital bone. His mother said she still believes there is more good than bad.

"There are still good cops out there, but these cops that hurt my son don't know what they did to me and my son," Angela said tearfully.

The family of Rickey Bryant will meet with the Chief of the Rochester Police Department and the Mayor on Friday to discuss the case.

Mayor Lovely Warren has issued the following statement:

The City has been in touch with the family regarding their allegations of what happened that night. A report has been filed and the professional standards division of the Rochester Police Department along with Chief Ciminelli will complete a thorough review of the incident to determine what actually occurred.
A notice of claim has been filed in this case, so in order to protect the taxpayers we are unable to provide any additional information as this matter is now one of pending litigation.
The City has been in touch with the family regarding their allegations of what happened that night. A report has been filed and the professional standards division of the Rochester Police Department along with Chief Ciminelli will complete a thorough review of the incident to determine what actually occurred.
A notice of claim has been filed in this case, so in order to protect the taxpayers we are unable to provide any additional information as this matter is now one of pending litigation.
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