Off Duty Rochester, NY Police officer Francisco Santiago Shoots Two Unarmed African-American Men Multiple Times after Fender Bender

By Davy V.

When is it ok to shoot two unarmed occupants of a vehicle who just got into a fender bender with you?

Injuring those two unarmed people with multiple bullet wounds to their torsos and lower extremities?

When you’re an off-duty Rochester, NY Police officer.

Here’s what happened.

On Friday August 10, 2012 around 11:30 pm, Rochester, NY Police officer Francisco Santiago, a 6 year veteran, had just finished his shift with the RPD’s eastside platoon, when he was heading home.

According to Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard, who held a news conference Saturday morning at the Public Safety building, officer Santiago was rear ended by another vehicle on Joseph Avenue.

Chief Sheppard said officer Santiago then “had a conversation” with the occupants of the car that rear ended him, “expressing” to them that he would like to contact Rochester Police so they could come and take an accident report.

At that point, according to Sheppard, the driver of the car failed to comply with officer Santiago’s request and drove away, before stopping their vehicle a short distance ahead, on Pardee St., at which point RPD officer Santiago once again “had a conversation” with the men, saying that he wanted police to respond and take a report.

Once again, Chief Sheppard said, they drove off.

Rochester, NY police Chief James Sheppard said officer Santiago, who again was off duty, followed the car as they circled the block and ended up back on Pardee St.

It was then, according to Sheppard, that officer Santiago called 911.

At the news conference, Sheppard told Rochester media that while officer Santiago was on the phone with 911, the two men he had been following, approached his car.

“The occupants of the vehicle exited and at that point he (Santiago) was assaulted. During the course of that assault he (Santiago) defended himself by firing his personally owned firearm multiple times,” Chief Sheppard said.

“The suspects fled the area. Other responding officers were able to contact and apprehend the individuals on Farbridge St. My understanding is as a result of the multiple shots that were fired, one individual had upper torso wounds and lower extremity wounds, and one had a an upper torso wound that we understand are not life threatening”, the Chief added.

The two men, both in their early 20’s, and both African-American, have not been charged yet, but Chief Sheppard said, “We anticipate that they will be charged with the assault and as I said the investigation does continue, and there may be additional charges that may come from our investigation.”

Chief Sheppard said that the Rochester, NY Police department is working with the Monroe County District Attorney’s office at this point in time, and that his department is conducting an internal investigation, as well as a criminal investigation that will be presented to a Grand Jury.

However, Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard called the shooting “justified”, and said that officer Francisco Santiago was “defending himself.”

When asked if it is usual for officers to carry a secondary weapon, besides the department issued weapon, the Chief answered, “Oh yes, most definitely. A lot of officers depend just on the RPD issued weapon but several officers have multiple weapons that they chose to have, based on the fact that they can have them.”

Ok.

That was Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard’s PR spin on the incident.

I don’t believe any of it.

Here’s why.

First of all, there are so many things that just don’t seem right here.

Off duty Rochester, NY Police officer Francisco Santiago is rear ended by another vehicle, and, despite his law enforcement training and his 6 years of experience as a police officer, doesn’t call 911.

Instead, officer Santiago gets out of his vehicle and attempts to have a “conversation” with the occupants of the vehicle that just rear ended him.

Officer Santiago then “expresses” to the occupants of the vehicle, his desire to want to call 911.

But doesn’t call 911.

Then at that point, the driver of the vehicle that just rear ended him drives off.

Officer Santiago still doesn’t call 911.

Then, after the vehicle stops a few blocks up the street, officer Santiago still does not call 911.

Officer Santiago instead chooses to have yet another “conversation” with the occupants of the vehicle which not only rear ended him, but drove off just minutes earlier.

And by the way, what’s up with all these “conversations” where RPD officer Santiago, according to Chief Sheppard, “expresses” to the occupants of the vehicle that just rear ended him, that he (Santiago) would like to call the Rochester Police department to come take a report on the accident?

Why didn’t officer Santiago just call 911 then?

Was he asking for the individual’s permission to call 911?

I mean Rochester, NY Police officer Francisco Santiago, again, a 6 year veteran police officer, had several opportunities to call 911, and didn’t.

Then, after the vehicle once again, for the second time, drives off, officer Santiago still does not call 911.

Instead he follows the vehicle around the block.

Then finally, officer Santiago calls 911.

Then, according to Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard, as officer Santiago is on the phone with 911, (who he should have called immediately after he was rear ended) the occupants of the vehicle exit the car and walk up to officer Santiago and assault him?

Off duty Rochester, NY Police officer Francisco Santiago then pulls out his personal firearm and shoots two unarmed African-American men several times.

Does Chief Sheppard think the community is stupid?

I don’t believe this “spin” that Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard is putting on this.

There’s alot more to this incident which Chief James Sheppard and his department are not saying.

Frankly, I find the whole thing very disturbing.
An off duty cop, in the inner city, who refuses to call 911 and instead follows and stalks down two unarmed Black men.
Then uses his personal firearm to shoot them multiple times?
Reminds me of a young man named Trayvon Martin.


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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.