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City gives public more complete picture into controversial police brutality case

July 08, 2019 11:38 PM

GRAPHIC VIDEO WARNING: The video above contains images and audio that viewers may find disturbing.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The city gave the public a more complete picture in a controversial police brutality case with the release of additional body camera video from the 2018 arrest of Christopher Pate.

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Body-worn camera video of police taking Christopher Pate down and arresting him had already been shown in the assault trial of Rochester Police Officer Michael Sippel.

The newly-released video shows what happened afterward as an angry Sippel and his partner, Spenser McAvoy, scolded Pate for being uncooperative when they tried to identify him.

"You know I'm not looking for you," McAvoy is seen in the video saying to Pate after the arrest.

"When I step out with you, you [say], 'Oh here, sir. Sorry, am I the guy you're looking for?' 'No, you're not.' 'Okay, have a nice day.' Instead you want to go and make this all what it isn't," you hear Sippel say. 

Sippel and McAvoy had said they approached Pate because he matched descriptions of a wanted suspect and, while he did show ID establishing that he wasn't the suspect, Pate was uncooperative and belligerent. 

Video of the encounter shows the two wrestling Pate to the ground, then tasing and handcuffing him. Sippel appears to talk about punching Pate and Pate's face ended up bloodied.

"Do you think we're out here just trying to mess with you?" McAvoy asks Pate in the newly released video. "We're trying to look for bad people. Now you make our whole day 'I have to take care of you' now because you want to act the way you did."

"I think that tape shows us that something like this can happen to any citizen," declared community activist Rev. Lewis Stewart of Rochester's United Christian Leadership Ministry. "And we have always got to be on our guard. And that's a fact."

Lewis acknowledged seeing the tape months ago and said when he watched it, he saw police being violent towards a black citizen.

"The police are, especially Sippel," he said, "very hardened to this man's suffering."

Video taken at the hospital, blurred for privacy, shows Sippel and McAvoy talking as Pate goes through the pain of having the darts removed after he was tased. 

"I think the public, when they see that, they're going to be concerned," Lewis said. "Some may be angry, and say 'this is what happens when the police encounter black people all the time.'" 

Back in May, a judge found Officer Michael Sippel guilty of third-degree assault. He was then fired from the RPD as a result of his conviction. 

McAvoy was not charged. 

The head of the police union, Mike Mazzeo, says disciplinary processes are still going on. He told News10NBC, "I believe it was inappropriate for the city to have released anything regarding this matter at this point in time."

Part of the video also shows a remorseful Christopher Pate apologizing as he sat in the rear of the police car, repeatedly saying, "I'm sorry for giving you a hard time. Please, I'm sorry for giving you a hard time."

During their time at the hospital, McAvoy is heard telling Pate, "We are all adults. People make mistakes. It doesn't have to be like this. You don't seem like a bad guy and you just made a bad choice today."

Pate is heard saying, "I did. And I take responsibility for it."

"And I respect you for that," McAvoy says. 

Pate is already working on suing the city for the incident.

Sippel is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

Watch the full video released below. GRAPHIC VIDEO REMINDER: This video contains images and audio that viewers may find disturbing.

Credits

Charles Molineaux

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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