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Chief: Body cam video showed RPD officer choking man in handcuffs

Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli and Mayor Lovely Warren held a joint news conference Friday morning to discuss the incident. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - A Rochester Police officer has been suspended with pay Friday after video surfaced showing him choking a man during an arrest.

Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli and Mayor Lovely Warren held a joint news conference Friday morning to discuss the incident.

On April 14, a large fight between several people on East Avenue at Alexander Street brought officers down to break up the fight. Approximately 200 people were in the streets at the time.

"There are approximately 79 videos, body camera videos from about 42 officers, we’ve located so far,” Chief Ciminelli said.

During that process, Mayor Warren said she received a Facebook message from the victim.

"I had contacted the police chief and he was looking into," said Mayor Warren. "At the same time, this video had been tagged by one of our lieutenants."

Chief Ciminelli said that video was discovered during a routine of body camera video and Subject Resistance Reports, reports officers file to document use of force.

"A police supervisor located a video which appeared to show a police officer choking a handcuffed prisoner."

The mayor called the video "disturbing".

The officer in question, who was not named by either the mayor or the police chief, has been suspended with pay. An internal investigation is underway.

The FBI has been brought in to investigate this case, according to Chief Ciminelli.

"Our policy in training considers a choke hold a deadly force technique," he said. "We don't train for it, it's prohibited unless there's a life threatening situation."

"We will not tolerate when protocol has not been followed," Mayor Warren said. "We will not tolerate when people are not doing the right thing and I think that we will hold people accountable. That is why I am so proud of our chief for turning this offer to the FBI. I believe this sends the right message to our citizens.”

This is the third RPD officer to be suspended in 24 hours; two other officers were suspended Thursday after video showed them pulling a man from a dirt bike at a home on Northampton Street Sunday night.

"The reason why we put this body camera system in place is, so we can have a picture into what is happening in our community," Mayor Warren said.

13WHAM News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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