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Religious Leaders Call for RPD to Suspend Use of Tasers

Rev. Lewis Stewart of United Christian Leadership Ministry
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Rev. Lewis Stewart of United Christian Leadership Ministry

Leaders from several faith-based organizations have called for a full investigation into the death of a Rochester man. Fifty year-old Richard Davis died after being stunned with a taser by RPD Officer Thomas Frye. Frye has been relegated to administrative duties since the incident, but Reverend Lewis Stewart says that does not go far enough.

Stewart, who is President of the United Christian Leadership Ministry, wants police to put down their tasers, for now.

"Protocol involving the use of tasers needs to be re-examined."

Stewart says he's not convinced the RPD exhausted their non-violent options before resorting to a stun gun. He says there are protocols in place that might have prevented Davis' death, like the department's Clergy Response Team, which Stewart says is rarely utilized.

A statement from the RPD reads, in part: "The CRT does not respond to or intervene in dangerous events that are in progress or not contained, such as the event on Sunday, May 31, 2015. To do so would be unsafe and impractical."

The reverend says they're waiting on a full investigation by the police, and that he thinks they have been transparent so far.

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RPD Chief Mike Ciminelli said earlier this week that they planned to release more information when they are able, including cell phone and surveillance video that captures part of the incident.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.
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