WATCH: Body-worn camera footage shows struggle between Rochester Police officer and suspect, who was shot
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Three days after a man was shot during a struggle with a Rochester Police officer, the department released body-worn camera footage of the encounter.
The video, edited by the department, depicts the moments up to, during, and after the fight.
The suspect remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.
The officer had trauma to his upper body: the struggle so violent, police say his parts of his vest and uniform were ripped off and scattered on the ground. According to Rochester Police Chief David Smith, the officer suffered chest and arm burns from his own Taser, as well as multiple bruises and a concussion.
This happened Monday night when police responded to Seventh Street for a ShotSpotter activation.
At the scene, an officer saw a truck with no headlights. RPD says that the driver fled, leading to a chase that ended when the truck crashed into a pole on First Street near Hempel Street.
According to RPD, the driver ran down First Street and eventually came to a backyard, where the officer tried to take him in custody. At one point, the officer momentarily lost sight of the suspect; according to police, the suspect ambushed him, tackled him to the ground and began punching him in the head. the officer, on his back, found himself struggling to retain possession of the Taser — which was deployed, and the officer was shocked.
“Close your eyes for a second. Think about the pitch black. Now picture yourself with your eyes closed laying on your back fighting for your life over a handgun with someone on top of you,” Smith said during a press release today.
As they fought over the officer’s gun, which had been removed from his holster, five rounds were fired from the gun, and the last round hit the suspect in the jaw, police said.
More officers responded, and an RPD sergeant performed life-saving medical care on the man at the scene and in the ambulance.
RPD says they found a loaded handgun and a large amount of narcotics around First Street. Officers say they also found another loaded gun in the suspect’s truck.
RPD says the man who was shot was convicted in 2019 of illegally possessing a handgun in the city and had a warrant for fleeing from officers in a car.
This is a developing story. News10NBC will provide updates as they become available.
Three Rochester City Council members — Stanley Martin, Kim Smith, and Vice President Mary Lupien — released the following statement on Wednesday regarding the shooting:
“We share our deepest sympathies with the young man who was shot by the Rochester Police Department this week, and offer our condolences to his family. Following this traumatic incident, we can only hope for healing and recovery.
The news of yet another young man shot while fleeing an RPD officer has unfortunately become all too familiar in our city. This is not normal — it is unacceptable, and we reject all efforts by the RPD to make our community believe otherwise.
Media explanations alluding to former convictions and the possession of drugs do not address the potential loss of human life and are not satisfactory justification for shooting a fellow human being. Police are equipped with non-lethal weapons intended to preserve life, yet these shootings continue to occur, causing irreparable harm to the victims, their families and the Rochester community at large.
We grieve with all of our community members impacted by this shooting, and call on the RPD and Mayor Evans’ administration to turn over all body-worn camera footage to the Police Accountability Board in hopes of a transparent, community-led investigation.”
The Rochester Police Locust Club has released the following statement in response to City Council:
“The statement made by members of City Council is disgusting, vile, and dangerous to not only our members but to this community. To have elected officials stand in support of criminals who attack and try to kill police officers is unconscionable. We demand that the Mayor, Chief, and the rest of the City Council immediately denounce the statement of these three hate-filled Councilmembers.
There is a line that has been crossed between someone’s political speech and speech that is bigoted and dangerous. To single out an individual City employee, as well as the entire profession of police, with absolutely zero evidence is unethical. None of them were at this scene and none of them viewed the body worn camera footage even after it was offered for them to review well before they put out this statement.
Any investigation should be unbiased and based on facts, and all our members understand the need for criticism and critique. This statement by Councilmembers, however, without any evidence or facts, is simply criticism to drive their personal agendas. At a time when we are straining through the trial of the killer of our Brother Tony, this statement from Council is absolutely deplorable.”
Thursday night, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans released the following statement thanking the Rochester Police Department:
“Today’s release of body-worn camera footage and details around Monday night’s officer-involved shooting should help our community understand the extent of the danger our officers face in the line of duty. Such videos can be difficult to watch but should be required viewing for anyone in a position to affect those who protect and serve our city.
I thank Rochester Police Department Chief David Smith and his team for their continued dedication and diligence in finalizing the investigation, and I remain thankful that the incident – so vividly captured by the officers’ body-worn cameras – did not result in further injury or loss of life.”