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Teen files suit claiming Rochester police assaulted him

Cops never filed charges against boy

A Rochester teen has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Rochester, Police Chief Michael Ciminelli, and several officers who allegedly assaulted him in August.

Rickey L. Bryant Jr. claims that on the night of Aug.7 he was riding his bicycle on Remington Street when a police car suddenly stopped in front of him.

An officer jumped out and “rapidly approached (Bryant) and punched him in his left eye and face,” according to the 24-page complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Bryant, who was 17 at the time, also claims in the suit that another officer shot him “multiple times” with pepper balls — projectiles that carry irritants similar to pepper spray.

Officers also used mace and a Taser on Bryant, and he was punched and kicked by five or six more officers while other officers looked on, according to the complaint.

There were about 20 officers at the scene “who took an active role in using force against Bryant” or failed to intervene to protect him, the suit claims.

The suit lists the officers as “John Does 1-20.”

After the alleged assault Bryant was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car, but never read his Miranda rights. Bryant claims he was not allowed to call his mother.

Bryant was taken to a police station, where an ambulance worker treated an injury to one eye. Police refused to take Bryant to a hospital, the suit claims.

“After plaintiff’s eyes were rinsed by ambulance personnel, a Rochester Police officer gave (Bryant) his bicycle back and was told that he was free to leave,” the suit claims.

Bryant, who was never charged with a crime, suffered a fracture to the bone around his left eye in addition to bruises, blurred vision, a concussion, headaches, and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the complaint.

The officers were never disciplined for the incident, the complaint states.

In response to a request for comment, city officials said in an email: “In order to protect the taxpayers we are unable to provide additional information about pending litigation.”

The complaint does not include a specific amount of damages sought.

Shortly after the incident, in August, Mayor Lovely Warren released a statement about the incident.

“The City has been in touch with the family regarding their allegations of what happened that night. A report has been filed and the professional standards division of the Rochester Police Department along with Chief Ciminelli will complete a thorough review of the incident to determine what actually occurred,” she said.

Because a notice of claim was initially filed shortly after the incident, Warren said in the statement: “We are unable to provide any additional information as this matter is now one of pending litigation.”

Bryant is represented by attorney Charles F. Burkwit. He could not be immediately reached for comment.