January 16, 2019 08:23 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) - A state Supreme Court judge denied a Rochester Police officer's request to have Mayor Lovely Warren testify at his internal affairs hearing.
Officer Mike Sippel was suspended when police body cam video surfaced in August, showing an altercation with Christopher Pate of Rochester.
Pate says he suffered several broken bones.
The hearing is called Article 75. It gives civil service employees the right to defend themselves when they are facing discipline.
The following statement from the mayor during a news conference on Aug. 28 raised concerns about the fairness of the internal investigation:
"If those internal charges are sustained, the officer's employment with RPD will be terminated. They will no longer work for the citizens of Rochester," Warren said.
The mayor made it clear that this situation would not go unnoticed.
"No one is above the law and that includes public officials, that also includes our Rochester Police Department," she said.
Defense attorney Clark Zimmermann argued before state Supreme Court Judge Ann Marie Taddeo that the mayor's testimony would give him grounds for an appeal should his client lose his job with the city.
"Based on her comments, we feel there's already been a determination made," said Zimmermann.
Judge Taddeo quashed the motion, saying this would be intimidation of the mayor and inappropriate.
The police chief makes the final decision after Article 75. However, Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo is concerned about the mayor's influence on interim Chief Mark Simmons.
"The last chief abruptly resigned in the middle of this investigation," said Mazzeo.
"There were a lot of political pressures going on. There was legislation pending. There's a number of factors. I think they all weigh into this, but at the end of the day, the officer out there taking an action deserves due process regardless of the politics."
Updated: January 16, 2019 08:23 PM
Created: January 16, 2019 07:35 PM
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