RPD officer charged with assault in alleged police brutality case

November 02, 2018 05:18 PM

One of the two Rochester Police officers who are accused of using excessive force and unlawfully arresting a Rochester man has been criminally charged.

A Monroe County grand jury indicted officer Michael Sippel for assault in the third degree. 


The other officer, Spenser McAvoy, was not charged.

District Attorney Sandra Doorley announced the charge Friday afternoon.

In August, Christopher Pate claimed the two officers -- Spenser McAvoy and Michael Sippel -- assaulted him earlier this year.

Rochester Police say Pate was walking down the street on Fulton Avenue in May when the two officers stopped him because he resembled a wanted suspect. After providing officers his ID, showing he wasn't the suspect, the officers allegedly beat, tased, and punched Pate. The officers arrested and charged Pate with disorderly conduct. 

Video of the incident shows two officers pinning Pate down when the police chief says he was wrongfully arrested during what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

Court documents say Pate suffered a number of injuries including a fractured face. 

Both officers were suspended following the allegations. 

Read the following statement from Mayor Lovely A. Warren regarding the alleged police brutality case: 

"The decisions handed up today by the Monroe County Grand Jury represent the first step in the judicial process. We must accept these decisions and allow the criminal justice system to take its course.

I want to thank the men and women of the Grand Jury for fulfilling their solemn duty as citizens. I also remain eternally grateful to the Rochester Police Department, for risking their lives each day to protect and serve the people of our city. I also want to thank our community and ask them to continue partnering with us as we do our best to provide safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, jobs and better educational opportunities for our citizens." 


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