Rochester, NY Taxpayer Dollars at Work: Are RPD Segways a Distraction?

By Davy V.

I must admit that I’ve never really heard anything bad about Rochester, NY Police officer Aaron Brown.

In fact, many times when I’ve been in downtown Rochester, I see Brown at his usual post on the corner of Main and Exchange, directing traffic, and crossing pedestrians, as he occasionally blows his whistle, and directs cars with his fast hand gestures.

Officer brown is hard to miss.

At well over 6 feet tall, Brown towers over traffic at what is probably downtown Rochester’s busiest intersections.

Ever since I was hit by car on May 16, 2009 at Rochester NY’s Lilac Festival, and almost killed, I am more aware of pedestrians at crosswalks.

The young college student that hit me, claimed he never saw me, even though I waited for the “Walk” sign, and had the right of way, as I was crossing the intersection of South and Highland Avenues.

Scary thing is I never saw him either.

Even more scary is the fact that I was hit next to two Rochester Police officers in bright fluorescent yellow event vests, who were too busy talking and laughing with each other, and didn’t cross cross pedestrians, including myself.

Note: In New York State, police don’t have a duty to cross pedestrians, for liability reasons such as in my incident, leaving the decision of whether they cross someone or not, completely to their discretion.

So what does my incident, which occurred four years ago, have to do with RPD officer Aaron Brown, you might ask?


On Tuesday morning, I visited downtown Rochester.

I decided to have a cappuccino at the Tim Hortons on the corner of Main and Exchange, and while enjoying my drink, I was disturbed by what I saw.

Rochester, NY Police officer Brown was not on foot like he normally is, but perhaps more important, he wasn’t focused on his job, like he normally is.

Simply put, officer Brown seemed like he was having more fun spinning round and round on his RPD Segway, than on helping pedestrians safely cross a busy intersection.

As you can see in the videos above, RPD officer Brown completely ignores a pedestrian crossing, while he is busy spinning in circles, and loops, under the entrance to the Crossroads building.

As I watched pedestrian after pedestrian cross by themselves, while RPD officer Aaron Brown looked completely distracted, like a kid with a new toy, I couldn’t help but have flashbacks of my incident.


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Once again Rochester, NY… your taxpayer dollars hard at work.


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.