Rochester, NY Police officer Caught on Video Refusing to Intervene in Youth Football Game Fight

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by DavyV., Sep 16, 2013.

  1. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    Rochester, NY Police officer
    tells parent that he will not get involved
    in stopping a fight at youth football game.
    By Davy V.

    Imagine this.

    You take your 7-year old child to their football game, and as you're waiting for his game to start, a fight breaks out, between the two teams playing.

    Then you realize that some of the teenagers on both teams are pepper-spraying each other.

    You then notice one child is crying, after having been pepper-sprayed in his face.

    In the meantime, while all this is happening, you see something you can't believe, or understand.

    A police officer is standing there, watching everything, and refusing to intervene.

    Rochester, NY Police officer
    watches, as youths fight
    at youth football game.
    That's exactly what a Rochester, NY mother saw Sunday afternoon, at a game held at Franklin High School, on Rochester's northeast side, between the Southwest Colts, and the Baden Street Bulldogs.

    "The fight involved mostly the players from both teams, but everyone got off the bleachers and joined in", said the woman who asked to remain anonymous.

    "Then I saw this boy who had climbed on top of a tractor after having been sprayed in the face and he was crying," said the woman.

    "No one was helping him, everyone was just running right past him and he was crying and screaming 'I can't see, I can't see!', I bought him two bottles of water and grabbed some napkins and helped him flush his eyes out."

    "He kept saying 'Please don't leave me, please don't leave me."

    The woman said even more disturbing than the fight was the fact that a Rochester Police officer was watching the whole incident, but refused to get involved.

    "He was just standing there, basically saying it wasn't his problem," said the woman.

    "I mean there were young children there, the tiny mites were waiting on the sideline, and people were running, it was crazy, and he just stood there," said the woman.

    The video below, which another woman recorded, after the Rochester, NY Police officer told a woman that the fight was "Not his problem", shows the RPD officer leaning on a fence talking to two different men, telling them why he won't get involved.

    If you listen closely, the RPD officer seems to downplay the fight, and justify his not getting involved by telling the first man "No weapons, only fists right now."

    Although the audio is not the best, the officer is then heard telling the second man, "Whole lotta adults, coaches, administrators, and parents handle the situation... before cops go in..."

    Click Play below to watch video

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  2. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I'm completely unsurprised, given that the courts have ruled that the police have no duty to intervene.
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    But that only pertains to legal liability. They still have a duty to enforce the law.

    I can understand cops overlooking a little fisticuffs when there are coaches & other adults to handle it, but when it elevates to the use of weapons (pepper spray) they should step in especially if everyone else is just sitting on their duffs. Some child abuse arrests might be in order, too -- if this was hosted by the high school were it was played (not clear if the high school had any direct involvement), in many states they are responsible for the welfare of the children and liable (both criminal & civil) for any neglect that occurs. Failure to prevent & report child abuse is a crime for most educators today.

    The witnesses should take this up with RPD's internal affairs unit & the local prosecuting authority, though from the sound of things in Rochester that won't accomplish much.
  4. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Not according to the Supreme Court. "Warren v. District of Columbia." Unless they've got an adult beating a child (i.e., child abuse, creating a "special responsibility") there's no duty on the part of the police to lift so much as a finger even if they're sitting there watching events unfold with their own eyes.
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Their police chief, local governing board (city or county) and state statutes determine what their duties are.

    You're mixing apples and oranges with Warren v. District of Columbia. Warren is only concerned with liability under federal law for a perceived (but non-existent) special duty to protect a person from harm. Liability can still exist under state law, especially where legislatures have enacted mandatory reporting & protection in child welfare matters. As a federal district, D.C. doesn't have that extra level of executive & judicial governance that the states provide.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Additionally Warren is binding only in the District of Columbia proper -- it was issued by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (functional equivalent of a state supreme court), not by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Although it can be cited as a precedent or parallel, it's not even binding in the remainder of the D.C. circuit, let alone in the rest of the country.
  7. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Joseph Lozito v. NYPD. NYPD watched from the safety of the train's driver's compartment as Maksim Gelman attacked Joseph Lozito with a knife from the safety of the driver's compartment.

    Castle Rock v. Gonzales, et al. Police failed to enforce a restraining order, ultimately resulting in the deaths of children.

    The police have *no legal duty* to lift a finger to stop a fight on a baseball diamond or a football field, soccer field, hockey rink, whatever. I would still argue that once an adult started in on one of the kids, it becomes a "special case" - i.e., "child abuse," which does have reporting requirements.

    What the police chief actually defines as their "duties" probably has very little bearing in Rochester, given Davy's previous posts.
  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    You're still mixing apples and oranges. These cases would be relevant in this example only when someone sues the police for failing to protect him from harm. The liability incurred in child abuse & failure to report/protect cases is usually criminal. In states that have such laws, civil suits likely would success because cause the targeted parties do have a legal (by state statute) duty to perfom.

    Child abuse doesn't have to be adult on child.

    "special duty" is the terminology used in these cases. What the courts are saying is that they're not obligated to perform duties on half of any specific individual, so an individual can't sue for non-performance of those duties.

    That would appear to be a significant part of the problem in Rochester.

    As I said at the top, the recourse here is checking if New York has any mandatory child protections & abuse reporting laws that apply (I don't know) and pursuing an internal affairs complaint (good luck in Rochester). Warren and related cases don't have any bearing on that.

    If you actually read Warren, you will see that it apparently was so obvious to the original trial judge that he didn't even put it in a written opinion. The only reason Warren exists is because the attorneys didn't get the memo & appealed, so the D.C. Court of Appeals spelled it out for them.
  9. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    And far from the only problem in Rochester. If even half of Davy's stories are true, then the populace of Rochester is among the most apathetic I've ever seen.

    As for the rest, show me a court decision wherein it states that the police had a duty to act on... well, anything. Just one.
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

  11. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Interesting. All of the links point to failures to report, not failures in "action."

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