Community wants bodycam footage after fatal altercation with US Marshals

Monroe County

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — On Thursday, Attorney General’s Office released an update on the death of 24-year-old Dedrick James, following an altercation with law enforcement Wednesday. A full investigation has been launched.

Their statement provides more details into the incident as it unfolded:

On the morning of September 15, 2021, members of the Multi-Agency Fugitive Task Force, including the Rochester Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, and United States Marshals Service, responded to 6 Vinewood Place in the city of Rochester to serve an arrest warrant for Dedrick James. Another individual answered the door, and after law enforcement entered the home, Mr. James allegedly fled to a bathroom. Once officers entered the bathroom, Mr. James allegedly displayed a firearm, and a brief struggle ensued while officers attempted to disarm him. During that encounter, the firearm allegedly in Mr. James’ possession discharged and one bullet entered his chest. Mr. James died as a result of that single gunshot wound. 

Community activists are not only asking for this investigation, but also for the full release of body camera footage as soon as possible. Rev. Lewis Stewart, community leader and president of United Christian Ministries is one of those calling for footage.

Stewart says there are too many unanswered questions, and the public deserves to know more. “I’m just asking for what are the facts. That’s it,” he said. “What was it about the level of the suspects’ crime that would merit that type of police task force? The person was in Wayne County; what was the person doing there?”

Antonia Wynter of the Community Justice Initiative agrees and says she needs to see the incident unfold with the full body camera footage. “A lot of details are left to be unknown,” she said. “We really can’t make a decision on exactly what happened because we weren’t there.”

Wynter says it’s too soon for her to take any sides, but she believes there is room for improvement on community policing. “There are a lot of different agents coming in and out of our community and it can be overwhelming,” she said. “What we don’t want is, we don’t want over-policing.”

Some groups like Free the People Roc said on social media that officers need to be held accountable, and called it murder. 

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