Rochester is quickly becoming a hotbed for criminals. And with a recent string of officers being attacked and injured during encounters, the community is demanding that something be done.
A report from WHEC News said that early Friday morning, a Rochester officer responded to a call about possible drug activity happening in the 300 block of First Street.
When he got there, he made contact with 30-year-old Jemet Flores. But Flores wasn’t about to go peacefully. The report said that when the officer tried to talk to him, Flores lashed out and hit the Rochester officer in the face, knocking his radio away from him before taking off on foot.
The suspect continued running until the officer eventually caught up with him on Miller Street. The two began physically fighting as the officer attempted to get Flores into custody.
According to a tweet from the Rochester Locust Club — not the department — the officer and the suspect fought for an intense seven minute stretch while more units ran from house to house looking for the two men.
Eventually the man was able to be subdued and the officers took him into custody. Flores was arrested and charged with attempted assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration in addition to charges from a prior warrant.
The officer received minor cuts and bruises during the scrap but was treated at a hospital and released.
The Locust Club came out firing at the department – specifically the chief – after a recap of the night’s events didn’t include the fact that an officer had been assaulted.
They say the department is under attack and no one is doing anything to stop it.
How does the Department not put out a statement about an officer attacked and fighting alone in a backyard for 7 minutes? Questions should be directed to the Chief. We have had over 100 on duty injuries in the last 10 months – the public should be made aware of these incidents.
— ROC Locust Club (@ROCLocustClub) October 18, 2019
The Rochester force has been overrun with violence against officers. The Locust Club called out the department’s chief for not doing more in light of the fact that over 100 on duty injuries had been reported this year alone. That’s 10 injuries to officers every single month.
Even with the increase in violence against city cops, the department’s PIO stated that they would not be going back to putting two officers in each squad car.
Miller Street is less than a mile from the neighborhood where Officer Dennison Wright was brutally attacked and nearly lost his life earlier this month.
According to the police report, suspect Keith Williams allegedly punched Wright in the face, then used an 8-inch blade to repeatedly slash and stab the officer “multiple times upon his face, left eye and lower body, causing serious physical injuries which were deemed to be life threatening.”
An estimated 200 people, Most of them law enforcement at Keith Williams court appearance today. No bail no release for the man charged with attempted aggravated murder of a police officer. pic.twitter.com/fYugOasteO
— Jillian Parker (@TVJillianParker) October 8, 2019
Reports said that it if wasn’t for the immediate help of a good Samaritan… Officer Wright might not have made it.
Lydell Weatherspoon was visiting friends just a couple houses away where Officer Wright was attacked when responding to a call. He didn’t hesitate to respond when he heard the officer screaming for help.
“When I got a little closer to the house I could hear someone inside yelling for help,” said Lydell Weatherspoon.
Chief La’Ron Singletary said Officer Denny Wright had responded to a call on Peck Street during the first week of October. The call came in for a reported domestic incident, and Officer Wright responded alone.
Tons of police on N Goodman pic.twitter.com/2Ewbx05Sof
— Tina MacIntyre-Yee (@tyee23) October 4, 2019
When he went into the home, he found Williams hiding under a bed. Family members and the officer tried to talk him out from hiding. Williams then allegedly tried to run out of the home.
When Wright tried to stop him, police say the suspect punched him and then began stabbing him.
Police say that Officer Wright pulled out his gun and fired once. He missed the suspect, who then continued to stab him.
“Once I got in the officer said ‘help,’” said Weatherspoon. “I immediately took a step toward the officer and the guy on the ground. He had him pinned down and I called out. Listen. Stop moving. Not to the officer but the guy calming him down. He tried to struggle a little bit. Once he heard my voice he stopped and just laid there.”
According to Weatherspoon, there was blood everywhere… but he knew he had to keep calm if he was going to be able to help.
“That’s when I could see the officer in real distress, ” said Weatherspoon. “I was on the phone with dispatch and I immediately told them officer down. Officer needs assistance. He needs help real bad.”
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Although Wright was badly injured, he knew he had to keep the suspect pinned down so he didn’t hurt anyone else.
“He had one knee in him and his two hands holding him down pinned against the sofa,” said Weatherspoon. “The guy couldn’t get up and do anything. He couldn’t even move. Again that showed remarkable strength from the officer to be able to do that in that moment of his trauma situation. It surprised me.”
— Victoria Freile (@vfreile) October 8, 2019
But Williams should have been behind bars when the attack happened.
According to court records, Williams was involved in at least four cases within the last year alone. And in one of those instances, a SWAT team had get involved after the 28-year-old barricaded himself inside his New York residence. Police were on the scene to arrest Williams for his alleged connection with a shooting the night before.
When he finally surrendered, Judge Stephen Miller set his cash bail at $15,000 with a $45,000 bond.
Guess who showed up in court the very next month?
In that case, Williams had been arrested and charged with criminal contempt for violating a protection order on an aggravated family offense charge from 2018.
Judge Miller then sentenced Williams to eight months behind bars. But instead of taking Williams from the court room and putting him in a cell… somehow he went free.
— Bob Lonsberry (@BobLonsberry) October 9, 2019
And even after the sentence was handed down, Williams didn’t end up in jail. Instead, he remained free, for reasons unknown. And because of that mistake, prosecutors are now saying that the failure of the system resulted in the near-death of a beloved officer.
“I watched the body camera video and what I witnessed was a vicious and brutal attack on Officer Wright,” Singletary added. “We could easily be standing here talking about another set of circumstances had it not been for the resiliency of Officer Wright, the good Samaritans that intervened and the quick actions of the responding officers.”
Officer Wright is currently undergoing rehabilitation after the attack on his life nearly stole everything from him.
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