Rochester Police dropping charges against man who taped arrest

Created: June 28, 2020 07:06 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester Police Department is dropping charges against the man who taped an arrest that then went viral Sunday.  

The department says that they responded to Bay Street just after 12:30 a.m. on Sunday to find a 23-year-old man walking erratically in the street. The man smashed a bottle of Henessey and then when officers tried to engage with him he began to shout at them, at one point saying that he wished they would kill him.


A struggle ensued as police tried to place handcuffs on the man, and at one point he bit an officer. The arrest was eventually made, but pepper spray was used in the process. The man, who was transported to the hospital to be treated before being released, is now in the Monroe County Jail for second-degree assault for biting the officer. The officer was also briefly hospitalized for injuries but was released after being treated.

During the arrest, a 21-year-old stepped out of his house and started to record the scene. After officers told him to stay back, there was a brief struggle that led to the man being arrested and given appearance tickets for obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. 

The video that the 21-year-old took was released on social media, where it went viral. At one point during the video, the 23-year-old being arrested can be heard saying "I can't breathe," the phrase used by George Floyd during the incident in Minneapolis that ultimately led to his death.

After reviewing body cameras on Sunday morning, Chief Singletary announced that while the man in the initial arrest is still being charged, the charges against the 21-year-old who filmed it are being dropped. 

"When we're right, I’ll stand up here and say we're right, and when we're wrong, I'll stand up here and say we were wrong," said Singletary. "Again, it's the interpretation of the officer in that particular point in time, and what I have to do is, when the situation's kind of calmed down, I have a little bit more time to look at the situation than the officer on the street. And the officer's perception, I have to marry that with what the reality is of the law, and if it doesn't match up, if it doesn't marry up, then we have to do what we have to do to make sure that we're doing the right thing."

News10NBC has seen two videos from the incident, neither of which show the initial struggle. We continue to investigate this story and will have more on News10NBC at 11.  

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