The community is in an uproar over a disturbing video that is circulating, depicting a man being forcefully removed from an AMR ambulance and tragically passing away later. The incident sparked City Councilmember Willie Lightfoot Jr, the United Christian Leadership Ministry (UCLM), and the Urban League of Rochester to condemn the actions of the EMTs and police officers on the scene.
The distressing video released by the city shows an unidentified man experiencing difficulty breathing and being asked to exit the ambulance. EMTs told the man to wait on the street for another ambulance to arrive and transport him to the hospital. Shockingly, the man fell to the sidewalk and had to wait over two minutes before receiving any assistance from medical personnel. Tragically, the man passed away two weeks later under undisclosed circumstances.
Now community members are speaking out and reacting to the video. Rochester City Councilmember Willie Lightfoot Jr. expressed the need for further investigation and accountability for all individuals present at the scene, including those responsible for providing aid. Lightfoot, who recently assumed the role of chairman of the Public Safety Committee, emphasized his obligation to ensure that such an incident never occurs again. He called for transparency from public safety entities and requested 911 transcripts to shed light on the situation.
UCLM held a press conference to express their strong condemnation of the reprehensible actions displayed by the AMR emergency medical technicians and Rochester police officers involved in this incident on November 30, 2023. The organization announced its solidarity with the Rochester community in strongly condemning the conduct that not only disregarded their own protocols but also violated fundamental principles of human decency.
"The release of the police body camera footage by the City of Rochester is appreciated, as it corroborates the described events and raises concerns about previous instances of misconduct that may have been dismissed without documented evidence," UCLM.
The Urban League of Rochester has also voiced its concerns about this incident through an open letter.
Dr. Seanelle Hawkins, the president and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester, acknowledges the challenging times the community has faced and expresses gratitude to Mayor Evans for his commitment to transparency in releasing a distressing video that showcases the denial of care to a fellow human being.
"This incident, reminiscent of the tragic events surrounding Daniel Prude's death, urgently underscores the critical need for sustained efforts to address systemic issues and inhumane practices within our community. As the appointed champion to advance the recommendations of the RASE Commission, Urban League of Rochester stands resolute in its role as a civil rights and advocacy organization, demanding swift and decisive action, accountability, and justice." Hawkins stated.
Many community members have demanded a prompt and transparent investigation. They want to hold leaders accountable for presenting an immediate and comprehensive plan for change. They have requested the investigation provide clarity, as there are no excuses for denying medical care to anyone in distress.
The Rochester Police Accountability Board has confirmed they are actively investigating after receiving a report of this tragic incident.