WXXI AM News

Family accuses police of misconduct after incident involving 13-year-old

Oct 2, 2019

Jusmeir Mitchell (Left) , Jesse Noble (center) and Dashonda Wattford at a press conference at the Downtown Presbyterian Church Wednesday
Credit James Brown / WXXI

A video of alleged police misconduct in Rochester has thousands of views on Facebook -- and even the mayor has commented on it. 

“What is going on here,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said in a comment on the video of the Sept. 19 incident. The video shows police manhandling and pushing 13-year-old Jusmeir Mitchell to the ground on Lake Avenue after he got off a school bus. 

A statement from the Rochester Police Department said officers responded to the bus, which had stopped because of a fight on it. The department said when Mitchell tried to get off the bus, police asked him to stay on it. But Mitchell did get off the bus and police detained him.

The bus had stopped near his home, where Mitchell’s mother, Dashonda Walford, and other family members were waiting for him. As the incident unfolded, she pulled out her phone to record the incident.

“By them just yanking my child off the bus, I was thinking, you know, there was nothing else for me to do but record, and be able to tell our side of the story because it’s always gonna be our word against theirs,” said Walford.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, she said Mitchell and her other children are scarred by it.

“He was crying,” said Walford. “He was detained to the point where another officer came and checked on him because his cuffs were on him the wrong way.”

Walford said Mitchell is the oldest of four boys, and her other sons saw it happen.

“So not to say for nothing, my children are all damaged from this,” she said.

The department says Walford’s fiance, Jesse Noble, attempted to intervene. In the video, Noble is next to Mitchell as the older man is shoved down. Police spokesperson Jacqueline Shuman said Noble was pepper-sprayed. The video shows police chased Noble, pushed him to the ground, cuffed him, and two officers pressed their knees on his back. 

Police say no one was hurt, but the family said Mitchell suffered a concussion and shoulder pain.

City Hall spokesperson Justin Roj referred WXXI News to the Rochester Police Department for comment. 

The department’s statement said that all officer conduct in the video will be reviewed.