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Rochester Police release police video of man shot by officers on Glasser St.

glasser_ss_video.jpg
Rochester Police Dept.
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Screenshot from officer body-worn camera video after traffic stop of vehicle on Glasser St. in Rochester on 5/14/21

Rochester Police early Saturday morning released 42 minutes of redacted body-worn camera video from officers at the scene of an incident that happened early Friday. That is when officers shot and killed a suspect who was sitting in the back of a car during a traffic stop on Glasser Street.

On Saturday night, police identified the man as Mark Gaskill, 28, of Rochester.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the incident. It is now standard procedure in the state for the attorney general to investigate incidents where police cause someone’s death.

Interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said the incident began just after 4:20 a.m. on Friday after police were responding to a report of shots fired on Lyell Avenue. Police stopped a car on Glasser Street and Herriott-Sullivan said there were at least two people in the car, and a man in the back seat showed a gun.

"Officers saw a male in the car brandishing a handgun and did state as much. The officers fired shots, there were at least nine, not exactly sure on the exact number, again this is very preliminary," Herriott-Sullivan told reporters at a Friday afternoon news conference.

The chief said that she was not sure yet if all of those shots were fired by officers or if the suspect had also fired a gun. Gaskill was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The other person in the car was not injured nor were any officers. Herriott-Sullivan said on Friday that two officers have been placed on administrative leave. That is usually standard procedure in incidents like this while the investigation continues.

WARNING: This video contains graphic content:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbV9MprVBlc">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbV9MprVBlc

In the body-worn video, the traffic stop starts out calmly, with police interviewing a woman who apparently was in the car with the two men. She indicated she was going to look for medical help. One of the male passengers in the car tells officers the woman is pregnant and was having pain.

On the video, it appeared the woman declined an offer by police to get her an ambulance.

The video shows an officer mainly questioning the front seat passenger, with the door open. Gaskill, the man who was shot and later died, was in the rear passenger seat. He could be seen on the video looking at his phone.

Officers asked him to roll down his window so they could talk with him, but the car’s child safety lock was on.

Eventually, it appeared police tried to open the rear door next to where Gaskill was sitting, and an officer suddenly yelled out “gun, gun, gun,” and soon after that, several shots were fired, apparently by police. An officer is heard telling the rear seat passenger to “stop reaching,” even after Gaskill was hit by gunfire.

On the video, one officer could be heard saying that a suspect in the back seat was armed, and had pulled a gun from his waistband.

Earlier on Friday, Mayor Lovely Warren pledged the city’s cooperation in the state investigation, and said she understands the frustration of city residents in connection with previous violent incidents. 

“I also know that all of us are tired and weary from the tragedies we have had to endure. But I ask that we continue to act with dignity and together we will persevere and create the change we all desire and know that our community mourns together,” Warren said.