Former Rochester Police officer sentenced to probation in assault case |

Former Rochester Police officer sentenced to probation in assault case

Updated: September 16, 2019 08:42 PM
Created: September 16, 2019 01:23 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- A judge sentenced a former Rochester Police officer convicted of beating an innocent man to no jail time and three years probation on Monday.

Judge Thomas "Rainbow Morse" found Michael Sippel guilty of misdemeanor assault for attacking Christopher Pate in May 2018. Officers arrested Pate in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. Morse said Sippel should have restrained himself.

Morse also said he believes that Pate has PTSD, and ordered him to get psychological counseling. 

"You have given so much to this country and the community. We should be taking care of you in some regards, in regard to what you brought back as baggage from the war," he said. 

The defense tried to have the verdict thrown out, and they say they plan to appeal the verdict.

The Rochester Police Department fired Sippel in June, a month after his conviction.

Sentencing was originally scheduled for Aug. 16 but was adjourned to Monday.

Sippel faced up to a year in jail.

One of Christopher Pate's supporters, Reverend Lewis Stewart, said the judge's decision fell short. 

"I think he was playing two ends again the middle," he said. 

"I think he was saying, 'well, since this officer may have suffered from PTSD, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his PTSD was what drove him to allegedly assault Christopher Pate.' Possibly, but then again on the other hand, where's the justice for Christopher Pate?"

Pate has filed a civil lawsuit in the case. Stewart, meanwhile, says he is going to begin pushing for annual psychological evaluations for Rochester police officers. 

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