ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
A Rochester police officer is on paid suspension following an incident Monday involving a Monroe Ambulance employee at Strong Memorial Hospital.
On July 11, it is alleged that a paramedic banged their door against the officer’s patrol car. The officer then detained the paramedic as she attended to a patient.
On Thursday, Police Chief David Smith was made aware of the situation and then conducted an internal investigation. Monroe Ambulance said the employee sought medical attention for minor injuries after the incident.
On Monday, the Save Rochester organization said the ambulance worker – whom they identified as Lekia Smith – had hired a lawyer and wanted the RPD officer fired.
Monroe Ambulance said the safety of its crew and patients was of the utmost importance. They felt video footage of the incident shows employee and patient safety threatened by the officer’s actions – and their employee showed sound decision-making in prioritizing the care of his patient. They also said the officer’s actions did not represent the values of the RPD.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans shared a similar thought in a statement, saying he expects more from city employees and especially a police officer. Evans said he looks forward to the outcome of the investigation.
The Police Locust Club on Monday called the suspension “puzzling”, saying the incident had reached a “mutually acceptable resolution”. They said Chief Smith’s actions lead them to believe that the investigator’s actions have already been determined.
Save Rochester released a statement in response, calling the Locust Club’s statement “grossly misleading and utterly treacherous.” Save Rochester said Smith suffered long-lasting mental, physical and emotional trauma. She wants to know more about the DPR.
“In all honesty, I think she would like to see the Rochester Police Department definitely come up with some sort of punitive resolution up to and including dismissal,” Save Rochester’s Mike Johnson said.
Lekia Smith’s full statement
“Hello, my name is Lekia Smith. At this time, I want to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers during this time. I am still struggling mentally and physically after this incident, but despite everything, I I’m a fighter, I’m just happy that God allowed me to still be here to speak my truth, unlike those who came before me.
Once I feel better, I just want my life back to normal and I want to continue my career as a paramedic. I pray that this never happens to anyone again and I also pray that the justice that is needed in this situation will be served quickly.
The Main Street Armory will no longer host the “Reawaken America Tour” event, venue owner Scott Donaldson announced Monday.
Rewaken America is a political tour that has been held in various cities across the country. The same event was scheduled to take place in Rochester in August at the Main Street Armory.
An online petition calling on the venue’s owner to close its doors to event organizers was formed shortly after the tour was announced. It gained traction among city officials and community leaders, many of whom called the event “damaging and hateful.”
“We don’t want it here. We don’t blame Rochester. We don’t want it in Monroe County. We don’t want it in New York State,” Monroe Co. Legislator Mercedes Vazquez Simmons said.
Reawaken America event founder and organizer Clay Clark said they’ve been trying to move their stop to Rochester for 90 days. Clark said he was not surprised by the decision, and venue issues are a challenge they faced more than once during the tour.
Clark said “Episode #14” was moved to a location in Macedonia on August 12 and 13, the same dates as the Rochester shutdown. Any tickets purchased for the Rochester venue will also be honored in Macedonia, should attendees choose to go there, he said.
But according to a Facebook post from the venue named by Clark, the event will not take place there.
The event, titled “Episode #14” on the poster, lists several high-profile supporters of former President Donald Trump, including General Michael Flynn, who was pardoned after his conviction for lying about ties to a Russian diplomat.
Donaldson released the following written statement regarding the cancellation of the event in Rochester:
I’d like to say that the Main Street Armory is an equal opportunity place, not a political one. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, etc. I believe that everyone has the right to have their own opinions and beliefs. (In response) to our community’s outpouring of concern, both good and bad, I have decided after careful consideration to cancel the Reawaken America Tour which was scheduled for August 2022. I have always appreciated the support of our city and I think it’s my turn to show my support. Hope to see you all at future events here. (Apart from those who threatened me and the staff, you are not welcome)
Main Street Armory’s position on the issue has been highlighted nationally. Over the weekend, The Washington Post ran a story about how alternative pop group Japanese Breakfast decided to cancel their shows at the Main Street Armory after learning it would also be hosting the far-right tour.
In a Tweet on Thursday afternoon, the group thanked the community for reaching out.
A teenager was shot dead and five others taken into custody following an incident in Beechwood on Monday afternoon, according to police officials.
U.S. Marshal for the Western District of New York, Charles Salina, described it as a “right place, right time” situation.
Members of the US Marshal’s Task Force were in the neighborhood for an unrelated investigation when they say they heard gunshots around 3.45pm.
Several Task Force officers said they saw a vehicle fleeing the area at high speed, which they later discovered was stolen in Pittsford yesterday. They followed the vehicle, which crashed at Woodman Park and Lancraft Street. The five occupants of the vehicle got out of the vehicle and fled.
Through a joint effort of the Marshal’s Task Force, New York State Police and Rochester Police, all five were arrested around 5 p.m.
During the investigation, officials discovered that a 14-year-old Rochester resident had been shot in the leg near Rosewood Terrace, RPD Captain Adam Raidens said.
His injuries were not deemed life-threatening and he is currently being treated at Strong Memorial Hospital, he said.
“We’ve beefed up our presence here in the city, and we’re here at different times throughout the evening, so right place, right time, great cops,” Salina said, praising the officers’ quick response.
Salina said the DPR will take care of the investigation in the future.
One of two Rochester teenagers who pleaded guilty to a fatal attempted armed carjacking in Gates was sentenced on Monday.
Edgar Tolentino was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for his role in the death of Richard Sciascia.
Sciascia, 71, was shot and killed along Buell Road on April 7, 2021, when Tolentino and Anthony Jacobs attempted to steal his car. Tolentino and Jacobs were both 16 at the time.
Tolentino pleaded guilty to second degree murder in June.
“With crimes like armed carjackings on the rise in our community, it’s imperative that we hold offenders like Edgar Tolentino accountable,” District Attorney Sandra Doorley said at the time. “We are pleased that Tolentino has taken responsibility for this crime and will spend the next two decades reflecting on his heinous acts which resulted in Mr. Sciascia’s death.”
Jacobs also pleaded guilty. His sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Sciascia was recalled by his relatives in April, a year after the fatal shooting.
It’s a good start to Tuesday with temperatures in the mid-60s, but it’s a little heavy. Wetness continues into Tuesday with little relief in sight for the rest of this week.