Richard Gregory Davis, 50, was pulled over on Tremont Street after several hit and run accidents, including driving into a house, the Calvary Spiritual Church, and a street sign.
Officers pulled Davis over and told him to get out of his truck. One witness, Charles “Tottie” Sanders, said that Davis got out and put his hands up but then charged at the police.
Taisha Ayala, another witness who spoke to 13 WHAM, said that she had seen Davis’s red pickup truck driving erraticallydays before and had reported it to police.
But Davis’s family members say that the incident doesn’t match up with the person they know.
“He was a good individual,” said friend Michael Holmes. “He was a big guy, but he was a teddy bear. He was a good guy.”
To some, the incident feels similar to recent cases of police misconduct throughout the country. These cases can often result in personal injury lawsuits, only 4% of which make it to trial.
Davis reportedly weighed around 300 pounds and had breathing problems, which the family claims caused his death. An expert and master taser instructor with the Rochester Police Department, Officer Dan Carlson, said that being overweight can actually lessen the effectiveness of the taser.
How the situation unfolded is unclear and currently under investigation, but Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli says that a witness has come forward with a cell phone video that may shed light on the incident.
Six officers were involved in the incident, including Officer Thomas Frye, who has been with the RPD for eight years and is Taser certified. Frye was the one who used the taser on Davis.
Meanwhile, the mayor, city council members and the RPD have assured community members that a full investigation is underway.
City councilman Adam McFadden commented that while the incident was “unfortunate,” tasing was preferable to many in the community over shooting.
Although the officers involved did not have body cameras, which many have argued for throughout the nation, the taser has a recording chip with information in it that is being used in the investigation.