Fate of RPD officer accused of assault lies in judge's hands

May 22, 2019 09:39 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The fate of Rochester Police Officer Michael Sippel is now in the hands of a Rochester City Court judge.

The veteran police officer is accused of assaulting Christopher Pate a year ago.

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The attorney's made their closing arguments Wednesday morning. Judge Thomas "Rainbow" Morse says he expects to have a verdict by Tuesday.

Morse has to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Sippel was not justified when he approached Christopher Pate on Bloss Street back on May 5, 2018.

"No one is above the law...that's how this trial started," said defense attorney Clark Zimmerman, in his closing remarks.

Zimmerman took those very words from Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Gina Clark's opening statements.

"That law you'll be instructed, applies equally to my client and to Mr. Pate."

Zimmerman summed up his case saying Pate had an obligation to obey the commands of a police officer like any other citizen, but instead chose to fight the officers. He said Pate had a bias against police officers and that Sippel was under the belief that Pate was a wanted felon. 

Zimmerman is talking about the resemblance between Pate and James Barrett, who was wanted on felony charges and who had alluded police officers for several weeks. 

"It shows that had Mr. Pate stopped and showed his ID, this whole thing could have been avoided," Zimmerman said outside of the courtroom.

Clark says the video tells a different story.

She says Pate did show Sippel's partner his ID. She asked, how many more times did he have to show it? 

She said Sippel's actions were not reasonable, were not in line with his training and were not justified.

"Watch the video," said Clark. "This isn't about an ID or's about a man, the defendant Michael Sippel who didn't like Christopher Pate's attitude, a man who pursued and beat Christopher Pate. He [Sippel] hit Christopher Pate so hard he had to go to the hospital for an injury to his own hand."

Clark said Pate never punched or kicked the officers. She said, when he was laying on the ground, he asked if he could take off his backpack and used the word "please." She also said this case is not about all police officers.

"Those men and women go out and risk their lives for us and our community every day," Clark said. "This is about one man, Michael Sippel."


Lynette Adams

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