Police only have the right to make an arrest when they have probable cause to believe a specific person has committed a crime. If the police make a false arrest or detain someone because of mistaken identity, these actions can still fall under the umbrella of police misconduct. When the consequences of these inappropriate actions cause harm to a person, they can file a civil lawsuit to be repaid for their damages.

The Rochester Police ended up getting violent with an innocent man after a case of mistaken identity, demonstrating how even simple police actions can go wrong when officers are too aggressive.

Innocent man severely beaten

Christopher Pate was approached by three Rochester Police Officers when he was on the corner of Fulton Ave and Bloss Street. He initially showed the police his ID when asked, and then a different officer immediately demanded that he show it again. Shortly after this initial interaction, Pate ended up grabbed by one of the cops, then he was handcuffed, tased, and punched multiple times. He suffered injuries to the jaw, mouth, and facial fractures. His mother described seeing him at the hospital for the first time after the incident with a swollen face and eyes.


Pate was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after this interaction, but those cases were quickly dismissed as it was discovered that there were clearly no grounds to arrest him. The Rochester Police are investigating the beating, and the deputy chief explained that their body cameras will be reviewed, as it is department policy for officers to turn the cameras on as they begin to interact with anyone. The officers remained on duty while the investigation began.

Pate’s attorney has also filed a notice with the city that a lawsuit related to the injuries will be pending.

Issues related to police misconduct

This scenario demonstrates a number of potential problems that can occur while the police are on duty. First, the police had no legitimate reason to detain this suspect, as he was not engaged in any criminal activity and should have been let got after showing an ID. Second, filing a report of false criminal activities is a crime in itself, and the officers should be held accountable. Third, the officers have no reason to use force once someone is handcuffed and detained.

Whether the officers are charged criminally or not, a lawyer can make multiple claims based around the false arrest, excessive and unnecessary use of force, and argue for a monetary amount that will pay for the victim’s injuries and other resulting problems. As a general rule, a police brutality or misconduct lawsuit is filed in federal court and alleges that a government employee deprived a person of their civil rights while carrying out their official duties. The amount of money someone can collect in a these cases is generally related to the injuries or other inconveniences that result from the improper government actions, along with the severity of the improper conduct that hurt the victim. In a case such as the incident above which involved a serious beating that required medical treatment, a lawyer will ask for payment to the victim in settlement or after a trial that will include all related hospital expenses, along with the costs associated with any permanent injuries or effects on the victim’s ability to work normally. This can be a large sum if a person’s ability to earn wages in the future is diminished.

Get help from an attorney in Rochester

If you have been improperly stopped by the police, arrested, or beaten, a police brutality lawyer can discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit with you. After learning about the specifics of your problems, an experienced lawyer will give instructions about how to proceed.

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