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Update: DA Says Grand Jury Found RPD Officer’s Use of Taser “Justified”

By Staff


_richard_gregory_davis(Update, May 24): Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said a grand jury found the Rochester Police Department officer who was involved in the death of Richard Gregory Davis in May of 2015 had been justified in using a Taser on Davis.

In March, the Monroe County medical examiner ruled Davis’ death a homicide; however, Doorley said, at the time, the determination had been a medical one, not a legal one.

“The grand jury found that the officer was justified as defined by New York criminal law in deploying his taser during the encounter with Richard Davis on May 31, 2015,” Doorley said in a statement.

According to Doorley, after hearing all the evidence in the case, the grand jury had been instructed on the law of justification, otherwise known as self-defense.  

(From March 31, 2016) – The Monroe County Medical examiner ruled Richard Gregory Davis’ death a homicide March 30.

Davis, 50,  died after being tased by a Rochester Police Officer in May of 2015, 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.

However, according to Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, the medical examiner’s ruling was a medical conclusion, not a legal one.

“When a medical examiner denotes something as a homicide, it’s based on forensic pathology criteria, not on homicide as it’s defined in penal law,” Doorley stated. “It’s a medical conclusion, not a legal conclusion.”

Doorley said she will review the medical examiner’s report, then present it to a grand jury next month.

In May, 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,  he received medical attention from emergency medical technicians at the scene. However, he later died at Strong Hospital.

The medical examiner’s report said Davis was obese, and had cocaine in his system at the time of his death.

Currently, the New York Sate Attorney General’s Office has the authority to act as a special prosecutor in cases of police-related deaths of unarmed civilians, however, Doorley said the case falls under her jurisdiction since it happened before the law went into effect.

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