Police Abuses, Poor Leadership, History of No Accountability

 

During Sheppard’s tenure, internal affairs did not find a single officer guilty of using excessive force in response to civilian complaints. (Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2017/02/25/critics-seek-overhaul-police-conduct-review/98245834/)

Sheppard promoted policies such as stop and frisk and racial profiling. At one point, he said officers would stop anyone without a bell on a bicycle. (Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20120705202245/http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/cool-down-racial-profiling/iRH_0ZjmCkmGTKoqvQIS_g.cspx)

Sheppard did not discipline officers involved in the arrest of Benny Warr for using excessive force. (Watch video of the arrest here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xifmR0C3Mk) Warr filed a lawsuit. When asked in a deposition if it’s common to knock over suspects in wheelchairs during an arrest, Sheppard replied, “It depends upon on who is winning.” A judge ruled Sheppard cannot be removed as a defendant because, “Sheppard was informed of a potential violation of Warr’s constitutional rights by Ferrigno and Liberatore, and failed to right the alleged wrong, despite having the opportunity to do so
through the complaint review process.” (Source: Federal court records. Read Sheppard decision.)

Under Sheppard’s watch, an officer arrested a woman, Emily Good, who was videotaping an arrest. The charges were later dropped. Officers later wrote parking tickets to Good’s supporters for parking too far away from the curb. Sheppard did not discipline any officers in relation to the case. (Source: http://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/latest-headlines/police-say-they-were-wrong-to-arrest-emily-good/193220212)

Former deputy police chief Sam Farina filed a lawsuit against Sheppard. According to the lawsuit, Sheppard lied to the public when he said Farina was reassigned after the Emily Good affair, as Farina wasn’t involved in the incident. Farina also accused Sheppard of fabricating an order of protection against him and trying to destroy his career. The case was settled for $15,000. Farina is now the police chief in Fairport. (Read the lawsuit.)

Sheppard defended the arrests of Edison Tech students who were waiting for a bus. The charges were later dropped. (Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2013/12/03/doorley-charges-against-edison-tech-basketball-players-will-be-dismissed/3852283/)

Sheppard praised officers who used force arresting a pregnant woman. (Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2013/08/28/chief-sheppard-to-address-video-of-officer-striking-arresting-woman-/2719335/)

The NAACP called for Sheppard’s removal. (Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2013/08/29/mayor-richards-happy-to-have-a-dialogue-about-videotaped-arrest-with-clergy/2731653/)

Sheppard defended the department when it did not call an Amber Alert after a father disappeared with his two daughters. The father was only allowed supervised visits with one of the daughters, after abuse allegations. Despite frantic pleas from the mothers of the girls, the department did nothing. The father killed the girls. Sheppard said the department did nothing wrong. The city settled with the families for $50,000. (Source: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Death-s-lure-was-ice-cream-2159342.php#photo-1579786http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/columnists/andreatta/2017/06/16/andreatta-city-settles-lawsuit-noel-parcells/403642001/ http://poststar.com/news/local/abuse-complaint-was-pending-vs-lake-george-campground-killer-dad/article_6b60b342-d97d-11e0-88b7-001cc4c002e0.html, RPD Press Release)

RPD gave up national accreditation in 2012. (Sources: http://www.dailypublic.com/articles/01182017/investigative-post-buffalo-police-training-lags, http://www.cityofrochester.gov/rpdannualreports/)

 

Jokes About Violence, Showing Insensitivity

 

Sheppard responded to a question about police use of force during a community meeting at Faith Temple Apostolic Church in 2013. Sheppard said, “You punch me in my face, I’m punching you in yours.” (Source: Around 16 minutes in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTrZCIBP5kg) Sheppard repeated this at a mayoral forum in July 2017. (Source: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155885336185139&id=328421240138&ref=content_filter)

During an interview on WCMF in 2013, Sheppard joked that officers sometimes “end up punching it out. I always won, though.” (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xsyhD52OLw)

Sheppard called violence against immigrant groups “rites of passage.” (Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/06/19/bhutanese-nepalese-refugees-african-american-rochester-violence/10847859/)

Under Sheppard’s watch, council members received hundreds of calls about a squad car with a toy monkey in view. (Source: http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/NewsBlog/archives/2013/09/06/council-members-grill-police-chief-over-hardaway-arrest-video)

Sheppard disavowed the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, “Black lives matter? Well, show me…I believe that all lives matter.” (Source: http://www.tlcorreabuntley.com/blue-lives-matter-billboard-sparks-controversy-at-rit/)

 

Lack of Civic Engagement and Policy Knowledge, History of Opportunism

 

At numerous public meetings during the Democratic designation process, Sheppard acknowledged he did not vote between 1981 and 2013. He started voting again shortly after Tom Richards lost reelection and right before he decided to run for county legislature.

During a radio appearance, Sheppard demonstrated little knowledge of city government. (Read Transcript: https://www.scribd.com/document/336751088/Transcript-Connections-with-Evan-Dawson-WXXI-News-1-16-2017)

Sheppard admitted he doesn’t have ideas for the city. (Source: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/rochester/news/2017/06/9/rochester-mayoral-candidates-forum-democratic-contenders.html)

Sheppard believes suburban sprawl is okay, repeating this at many forums. He has said, “As the county goes, so goes the city.” This shows astonishing lack of knowledge about history and urban planning. (Source: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156000869765139&id=328421240138)

Realizing that Lovely Warren would not retain him as police chief, Sheppard put in his retirement, but rescinded it at the same time Turn Out for Tom materialized. (Source: http://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/news-headlines/sheppard-rochester-police-chief/191630126)

Sheppard owned a rental property in the city that racked up numerous code violations. (Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2017/01/15/sheppard-slumlord/96613286/)

For most of his career, Sheppard was one of the 90 percent of Rochester police officers who didn’t live in the city. He moved back when a promotion mandated residency in the city. (Source: Monroe County and Wayne County clerk records.)

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