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Former RPD officer Sippel gets probation in assault case

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Michael Sippel, the former Rochester police officer convicted of assaulting Christopher Pate during a May 2018 arrest, was sentenced Monday to three years of probation.

City Court Judge Thomas Rainbow Morse, who found Sippel guilty of third-degree misdemeanor assault at a bench trial, said during the sentencing that Sippel’s judgment the day of the confrontation was clouded by post-traumatic stress from his time in the Army.

Sippel and his partner were patrolling the area of Bloss Street and Fulton Avenue when they happened upon Pate and wrongly identified him as a fugitive. In pursuing Pate, Sippel punched him in the face and caused him to suffer a facial fracture.

Morse reportedly said the PTSD was not “an excuse” for the assault, but urged the Rochester Police Department to foster programs that help officers deal with trauma they experience on the job.

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