Rochester, NY - Members of the clergy who work closely with Rochester Police are stepping forward with a claim of racial profiling.
They worry it's a problem in the city, and they've got a case they claim proves it.
However, police reports obtained by News 8 suggest the suspect was breaking the law.
24 year old Israel Shaw claims officers with the Rochester Police Department attacked him as he was minding his business, walking down a city street.
He said "They treated me real nasty, like I wasn't a human. Like I just escaped from prison."
Shaw's pastor, and other community leaders including members of RPD's Clergy Response Team are calling the city to action.
They claim officers used racial profiling on the night of November 13 near the University of Rochester campus.
Shaw says a car pulled up behind him, and he was attacked.
"I didn't know if he was trying to rob me, if he was trying to hurt me. I didn't even know if he was a real police officer, he didn't announce nothing, no sirens or anything."
Photos obtained by News 8 show the injuries Shaw claimed he got that night from the officers, as he says they shoved him to the ground and broke his nose.
Shaw says "They're sitting up there saying 'You look like a bad guy' and started laughing...It was like they picked me like a lottery ticket, 'He has to have something on him, oh let's sneak up behind him.'"
Official court documents however, tell a different story.
They say Shaw was carrying marijuana, a charge he admits to.
The report also says Shaw struck one of the officers and verbally assaulted them with racial slurs, charges Shaw denies.
An official statement from the RPD says:
"Chief Sheppard did adjust his schedule last week (Friday, November 19th) after he was made aware of the incident, to speak with the Alliance. Allegations of excessive force obviously concern him and he is reviewing the documentation of the incident and has initiated a PSS investigation into the incident. Therefore, we will not discuss any specifics until the investigation has concluded."
Bishop Jerry McCullough is President of the
Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. He says "We have to give the man a chance, he's new coming in. We have to put pressure on him as community leaders to see that justice is done." He added "We love the police, we need them in the community, but we can not stand for this racial profiling and that's all this is."
Israel Shaw is scheduled to appear in court to face charges next month.