Rochester, NY Police officer Thomas Rodriguez has a Long History of Abusing Innocent Citizens, and being Named in Lawsuits

By Davy V.

Why does the City of Rochester, NY and the Rochester Police department continue to employ rogue, abusive officers?

Throughout the years, City of Rochester officials, namely former Mayors William Johnson, Robert Duffy, and current Mayor Thomas Richards, have been well aware of certain rogue, problem officers on the RPD, yet have refused to get rid of them.

Take, for example, Rochester Police officer Thomas Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is one of those officers with a long history of abusing and violating citizen’s civil rights.

In 1997, RPD officer Thomas Rodriguez attacked a man who was handcuffed to a hospital gurney.

Rodriguez placed his hands around the man’s neck and was strangling him, when luckily, a nurse who was treating the man, returned to the room, and saw Rodriguez, who immediately released the man and jumped back.

Later, when the man brought a civil action against the City of Rochester and officer Thomas Rodriguez, despite having been subpoeaned, the nurse refused to testify.

The man’s attorney believed Rodriguez had intimidated her in an attempt to have her not show up in court to testify.

In another incident, on August 31, 2002, 30-year old Lawrence Rogers, a mentally-ill, African-American father, was running around in his briefs in the parking lot of Wegmans food supermarket on Rochester’s west side.

Less than 10 minutes later, Rochester, NY Police officer Thomas Rodriguez was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene.

Thomas Rodriguez proceeded to beat Rogers, then placed his knee, and all of his weight on the back of Rogers’ neck.

Less than one hour after being beaten by Rodriguez, Lawrence Rogers was pronounced dead at Rochester General hospital.

On the streets, Rodriguez is known as a police officer with a very short, explosive temper.

Rochester, NY residents Christopher Kawolsky and Anne Marie Sanders know this firsthand.

Last week, a settlement was announced in yet another lawsuit against the City if Rochester, NY, naming RPD officer Thomas Rodriguez.

In May of 2007, Kawolsky called 911 after a man was allowing his pit bull to run freely in the parking lot of the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, where Kawolsky and Sanders work, as the theatre was emptying.

According to a lawsuit filed in Federal court, the dog’s owner threatened Kawolsky, then tied his dog to a nearby street sign.

Rochester, NY Police officers Thomas Rodriguez and James C. Hall responded, but refused to arrest the dog’s owner for threatening Kowalsky.

It soon became apparent that the officers had an animosity towards Christopher Kawolsky, as a result of Kawolsky having previously complained to RPD Westside Commander Huff, regarding the officers’ lack of addressing problem issues in the downtown Rochester neighborhood.

When Christopher Kowalsky insisted that something be done in regards to the dog owner having threatened him, RPD officer James C. Hall told him “You’re the one I should be arresting.”

According to the lawsuit, Hall then aggresively grabbed Kowalsky from behind and handcuffed him.

When Anne Marie Sanders asked Hall why he was arresting Kowalsky, Hall pushed Sanders, who weighed only approx. 100 lbs., into officer Thomas Rodriguez.

Rodriguez then grabbed Sanders and body slammed her to the ground, hancuffed her and placed her in the back of an RPD cruiser, where she was left unattended for 45 minutes.

Rochester police officers Thomas Rodriguez and James C. Hall then charged Christopher Kowalsky with two misdemeanors; harassing the dog owner and failure to disperse with intent to cause a public disturbance.

Both charges were later dismissed in court.

Anne Marie Sanders was charged with harassing the officers and obstructing governmental administration, she was later given an Adjournment in comtemplation of dismissal (ACD).

As I have written about countless times before, what started as a citizen calling Rochester police for assistance, quickly turned into RPD officers Thomas Rodriguez and James C. Hall assaulting, arresting and violating their civil rights.

And so, the City of Rochester settles yet another lawsuit of misconduct and Civil rights violations on behalf of its officers, and it’s back to business as usual when it comes to problem officers such as Thomas Rodriguez, who despite City officials being fully aware of his history, they refuse to do anything about it.


In 2011, Rochester, NY Police officer James C. Hall was arrested and charged with several felonies in connection with his theft of more than $240,000 in sales tax.

Despite Rochester, NY’s news media never reporting that a Rochester, NY Police officer was arrested for tax evasion, someone sent me the following link:


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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.