MCSO: 3 deputies sustain minor injuries in altercation with Assistant Public Defender

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — One day later, the Rochester Black Bar Association responded to an incident involving an Assistant Public Defender Friday.

Monroe County Sheriff Deputies say at around 10:15 a.m., she was trying to get inside a restricted area of Rochester City Court while court was in session, but was told she could not because a disruptive inmate was posing a safety concern.

Sgt. Matthew Bottone said that the judge presiding over the courtroom, as well as a deputy, told her several times that she could not enter, then she became disruptive. A spokesperson from the Office of Court Administration said the Assistant Public Defender had no connection to the case.

Bottone said the judge and deputies then asked her to leave the courtroom, but she continued to be disruptive instead. She was being escorted out by deputies when Bottone says an altercation ensued.

In a statement issued by the RBBA:

"The Rochester Black Bar Association is shocked and dismayed by the decision to use such extraordinary force against a member of the bar. The use of force on any attorney is to be highly scrutinized. We are calling for a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident. In addition, we are requesting a meeting with Administrative Judge Taylor and the administration of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to review and discuss the policies and procedures relating to this use of force. The respect and safety of our members and other members of the bar is necessary in the administration of justice."

Bottone said three deputies sustained minor injuries and were treated by medical professionals and the Assistant Public Defender said her wrist hurt, so she was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for evaluation, where it was determined her wrist was not fractured.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says a criminal investigation is underway. The Office of Court Administration said charges are pending.

Monroe County Public Defender Tim Donaher said:

“We are aware that there was a physical altercation between our staff-person and a court deputy leading to our staff-person suffering a serious injury to her wrist. We want to express our full support for our staff-person. We do not believe the use of force was necessary under the circumstances presented, and we remain very concerned at the level of disproportionate force used by the deputies against a member of this office.”