Fifty-year-old Richard Gregory Davis died May 31, after being tased by a Rochester Police Officer, following an accident on Tremont St., where officers said they tried to subdue the man, after he crashed into a parked car, as well as a house and church in the area.
Rochester Police Department Chief Michael Ciminelli said officers responded to the neighborhood after receiving calls Davis had been driving his red pickup truck in the area, erratically.
Upon their arrival, Ciminelli said Davis, a military veteran, fled the scene, only to return a few minutes later, locking himself in the vehicle.
Then, when officers demanded Davis exit the vehicle, Ciminelli said he got of the truck, and charged at the officers with his hands balled into fists.
“At that point the officer did deploy what we call a less than lethal option,” Ciminelli said during a press conference. “In this case it was the taser.”
After Davis fell, and was handcuffed, police said he received medical attention from emergency medical technicians at the scene. However, he later died at Strong Hospital.
Ciminelli said the RPD, along with the Monroe County DA’s office, would be conducting an investigation into the matter.
“Hopefully people will give us the time we need to conduct a thorough investigation,” he stated.
Davis’ death comes following the deaths of several unarmed black men by police officers in recent months, across the nation. Most recently, the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, involving police in Baltimore, M.D., caused a string of violent protests in the city.
Following Davis’ death, both Ciminelli and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren called for calm during the investigation into the matter.
“Further speculation should end now, while we wait for definitive answers,” Warren stated.
In addition, several area religious leaders, including Rev. Lewis Stewart of The United Christian Leadership Ministry, have renewed their call for RPD officers to wear body cameras, as a result of the incident. Stewart said in a statement that a special investigator should also be appointed to look into the incident.
“We’ve already started to reach out to community members, and leaders, to let them know what’s going on, and how we’re responding, and that’s one of the reasons we’re here now,” Ciminelli said. “To keep everybody at a level of comfort that this was taken seriously, as the mayor said, right from the beginning.
In addition, according to Ciminelli, due to the fact that the investigation is ongoing, police have not yet released the name of the officer involved in the incident.