Emotional testimony: Judge hears from victim allegedly assaulted by RPD officer

May 17, 2019 07:26 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- A judge will decide the fate of Rochester Police Officer Michael Sippel who's charged with assault.

The alleged attack was captured on a police body-worn camera. 


On Friday, the judge heard from the man Sippel is accused of beating. Emotions ran high as Christopher Pate talked about what happened last year.

At one point, it all seemed too much for Pate as he tried to recount what happened when Sippel and another officer spotted him walking down Bloss Street. Pate matched the description of a wanted suspect so the officers approached him in an unmarked car and asked for identification.

Friday was the first time he spoke publicly about what was captured on the video. 

On May 5 of last year, Pate said he was walking to ROCovery Fitness on Dewey Avenue to volunteer. It's a local program that supports sober living through fitness. Pate says his goal is to become a family counselor and he wanted the volunteer work for his resume. 

He says he was minding his business and crossed the street when he saw Sippel and his partner, Spencer McAvoy, drive up in an unmarked car. He says he fears police officers and wanted to avoid them.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Clark Zimmerman pointed out some discrepancies in the testimony Pate gave Friday compared to what he said to a grand jury last year.

"You have to remember, he's basing this on his recollection. At the time he was afraid. Maybe that's what he believes. I'm not calling him a liar...I think that's what he believes. I tend to believe the body-worn camera footage and Officer McAvoy's testimony...." said Zimmerman.

Prosecutor Gina Clark told the judge that Pate's grand jury testimony was taken out of context and was not inconsistent, and she may call a court reporter who recorded the grand jury testimony to testify on Monday. 

Clark has maintained Pate was beaten by Sippel in an unjustified assault.

Overall, Pate didn't offer much testimony about the events of that day. He said much of it he simply didn't remember. He did tell the judge, however, about his injuries, saying he still has discomfort and blurred vision.


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