Prosecution rests in trial of RPD officer accused of assault

May 20, 2019 06:56 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The prosecution rested Monday in the trial of a suspended Rochester Police officer charged with misdemeanor assault after he allegedly beat a man wrongly accused of a crime. 

Michael Sippel is charged with assaulting Christopher Pate of Rochester last May on Bloss Street.


Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Gina Clark showed the judge a new clip of the police body-worn camera. That video has been at the center of this case.

"I blasted my hand off his head."

That's what a man's voice said in the short clip the judge heard Monday. The voice was identified in court as Sippel's. 

Sergeant Gregory Bello is involved in the Rochester Police Department's officer training. He testified that officers are trained to deescalate confrontations.

He says a strike to the head is a high-level force. However, on cross-examination, Bello said if a person is reaching for his or her waistband and refusing to be handcuffed, it may present a threat to officers.

Only the portion of Sippel's grand jury testimony, in which he testified that he hit Pate, was read in court.

"I thought they would read in his entire grand jury testimony, " said defense attorney, Clark Zimmerman, "which would lay out everything that happened. His justification for what he did, why he did it, what his training was, why he followed that training. They choose to not introduce that."

Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Gina Clark has been ill during this trial and didn't want to appear on camera.

The defense will present its case Tuesday morning.

Zimmerman says he hasn't decided if he will put Sippel on the witness stand. 


Lynette Adams

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