Updated: 12/03/2013 5:25 PM
Created: 12/03/2013 11:53 AM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
It's a story that has gone viral, even getting attention on cable news networks. Last week, three local teenagers were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. On Tuesday, the district attorney's office decided to drop those charges.
Rochester Police say the teens were blocking a sidewalk in front of a store near North Clinton Avenue and Main Street last Wednesday. The teens say they were just waiting for the bus.
On Tuesday, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley released a statement saying, “After reviewing the facts associated with these arrests, we have decided to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice."
The arrests have some community leaders asking tough questions about policing in the city. Now that the charges have been dropped, many are saying this incident goes much deeper.
Mary Adams, Rochester City School District Commissioner, said, “There is a serious issue here. There is a problem with people of color being targeted in their neighborhoods, on the streets by a number of police, who are not properly trained and who do not show proper respect.”
Adam McFadden, City Councilmember, South District, said, “We have open air drug markets in our streets that we can't get this type of policing on. You can drive two blocks from here and see young people selling drugs, uninterrupted. Yet, we have students going to a scrimmage, transportation being paid for by taxpayers and police decide to arrest them for what?”
Many people are saying some police officers in Rochester are using poor judgment. But Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard is standing by his force. He says that block on Main Street has been a troubled area for quite sometime. The chief says they hear that from the people who live there and that's why they've been trying to address the issue.
He says there should not have been any exceptions made for the three teens, who are star athletes at Edison Tech and that the community should be trusting police and their decisions. News10NBC asked the chief if there was a disconnect between police and the district attorney's office.
Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard said, “I don't think there's a disconnect, I don't think every case we put forward does not end in a prosecution, a lot don't end up with a guilty finding. Part of that discussion, whether the officers should've, would've, could've handled it differently, is how could these gentlemen have handled things differently? That's what's missing in this discussion, their accountability for their actions as well.”
The chief says he has not talked to the officer involved in the case. There is no internal investigation into the incident or the officer in question.
The teens posted a $200 bail. They say it was tough for their families to find the money especially with the holidays. The chief says he expects the court to return that money to the families.