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Judge finds RPD officer guilty of assaulting innocent man

May 28, 2019 01:37 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A judge has found a Rochester police officer guilty of beating an innocent man.

In the bench trial, Judge Thomas Morse found Michael Sippel guilty of third-degree assault. 

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Both the prosecution and defense agreed that Sippel and another officer approached Christopher Pate on Bloss Street last May after mistaking him for a wanted suspect.

Prosecutors said Sippel beat, tased and handcuffed Pate even though he showed the officers his ID, proving he wasn't the suspect.

"We presented the evidence as it was," prosecutor Gina Clark said. "You saw the video and we trusted in Judge Morse to render a fair and impartial verdict and our job is to seek justice and I believe Judge Morse found justice in this case.”

The defense argued that Sippel used reasonable force to arrest someone he thought was a wanted suspect. They claimed that Pate had a bias against police and escalated the situation by not stopping when officers approached him.

"We’re all in shock," said defense attorney Clark Zimmerman after the verdict was announced. "We felt that the proof came in to show that all the actions taken that day were justified, reasonable and within the scope of his official duties.”

Sippel could face a year in jail. Sentencing is scheduled for July.

Watch News10NBC and follow Lynette Adams on Twitter for reaction to the verdict.

WHECTV

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