Despite the Rochester, NY Police Department’s “We Have Your Back” Billboard Campaign, Chief James Sheppard Proves They Really Don’t

By Davy V.

In April of 2012, Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard announced a billboard campaign, with what he described as a “specific purpose.”

The billboards, which were strategically placed in mostly African-American and Latino neighborhoods, featured actual Black and Latino Rochester Police officers with slogans such as “On The Same Team” and “We’ve Got Your Back.”

Shortly after unveiling the RPD’s billboard campaign, Chief Sheppard said “We’re trying to get the message out to the Rochester community that the RPD, one, has their back. We want people to know that we’re here to serve them. It’s our role. We want them to have faith in us. The other message we’re trying to send is to youth. To let them know we’re on the same team. We don’t want them looking at us as the enemy.”

The campaign, which lasted about 2 months, was an obvious sign of the desperation that the Rochester, NY Police department has in gaining the respect and trust of African-Americans and Latinos, after a long history of harassing, racially profiling, abusing and in some cases executing them.

A desperation where the RPD and the City of Rochester is will go as far as to try to buy that respect and trust with billboards.

Ironically, about the same time that the RPD’s billboard campaign was ending, Rochester Police Sgt. Aaron Colletti, Sgt. Mike Nicholls, Officer Antonio Gonzalez, Officer Brian Cala, Officer Greg Karnes, Officer Onasis Socol, and Officer Eluid Rodriguez executed Israel “Izzy” Andino, a mentally ill young man on his 20th birthday. (See my blog “7 Rochester Police officers Execute Mentally Ill Man”)

And just recently, a Rochester man filed a lawsuit against the City of Rochester, the Rochester Police department and Rochester Police officers Rob Osipovitch and Ryan Hartley after the officers lied in order to effect an illegal stop and search of Jeramie Barideaux’s vehicle.

RPD officers Osipovitch and Hartley lied about Barideaux failing to come to a complete stop at the intersection of Conkey Ave. and Avenue D in order to justify what was an illegal traffic stop.

Rochester Police claimed to have found drugs and a weapon in Barideaux’s vehicle.

Monroe County Court Judge Daniel Doyle dismissed all charges against Barideaux after a City of Rochester surveillance camera located high above the intersection, proved that Barideaux in fact did come to a complete stop at the intersection, and that RPD officers Rob Osipovitch and Ryan Hartley lied.

Osipovitch and Hartley not only lied in order to justify illegally stopping Mr. Barideaux, but they also committed perjury by lying when they testified in front of a Monroe County Grand Jury.

As a result of RPD officers Rob Osipovitch and Ryan Hartley lying, and committing perjury, Mr. Barideaux spent 4 months incarcerated, away from his family.

Despite Rochester Police officers Osipovitch and Hartley violating the Constitution of the United States of America and their sworn oaths to “uphold the law”, Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard has refused to take any disciplinary action against his officers.

Both Rochester Police officer Rob Osipovitch and Ryan Hartley remain on the force, and patrolling Rochester’s streets.

And to think, just a few months ago, in announcing the RPD’s billboard campaign, Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard, addressing the Rochester community, wanted them to know that the RPD “has their back.”

During that same news conference unveiling the billboards, Sheppard wanted the community to know that “we’re here to serve them, we want them to have faith in us, we want them to know we’re on the same team, we don’t want them looking at us as the enemy.”

Let’s see…

Two Rochester, NY Police officers conspire to lie, illegally stop and search a vehicle, then committ perjury in front of a Grand Jury, and RPD Chief James Sheppard does nothing about it?

Chief Sheppard, is this how you show the Rochester community that your department has their back?

Yet you want the community to have faith in you and your department?

And you don’t want the community looking at you and your department as the enemy?

Contact Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard
(585) 428-7033

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Davy V.

Davy V. is a Cuban-American Filmmaker, Video Producer, Photographer and Freelance Writer, best known for using the power of video and film to expose Police Brutality, Corruption and Misconduct. The son of the late Mario Vara, a community activist who for years fought against Police Brutality and Misconduct in Rochester, New York, Davy V. got his start in Television and Video by tagging along and working camera for his father's cable access television show, "La Voz Del Pueblo" (The Voice of The People). Davy V. later went on to produce and host "KEEP IT ON THE REEL", a cable access TV show with a mix of Hip Hop as well as issues affecting African-Americans and Latinos in Rochester, NY, such as Police Brutality and Misconduct. Some guests on the show included Treach, KayGee and Vinnie of Naughty by Nature, Method Man, Funkdoobiest, Da Youngstas, and the Rottin' Razkals. Davy V. won the U.S. ACM Video Festival Award for his Documentary, "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" about the Rochester, New York Police Department and their long history of misconduct, corruption and unnecessary killings of unarmed innocent citizens. "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" and Davy V.'s follow up, "R.P.D.: Badges of DISHONOR, CORRUPTION and MURDER!" were both screened at the National Hip Hop Political Convention at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Davy V.'s work has been featured in publications such as THE SOURCE Hip Hop Magazine, URBAN AMERICA Magazine, The Ave. Magazine, Insider Magazine, La Voz Newspaper, Minority Reporter Newspaper, CNY LATINO Newspaper, DOWN Magazine, as well as on television news stations, and programs such as CNN and Inside Edition. In addition to his freelance writing, Davy V. also writes a monthly Op/Ed Column for LA VOZ Magazine and Minority Reporter Newspaper. In June 2012, Davy V. joined Cop Block as a regular contributor.