Surveillance and body cam video shows man being removed from an ambulance in Rochester

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Rochester Mayor Malik Evans called for answers Thursday, after a Rochester man was asked to get out of an ambulance and left on the ground for more than two minutes without help.

According to Evans, the man was in an AMR ambulance on the way to the hospital when EMTs called Rochester police and asked him to get out and wait for another ambulance.

Video of the incident, which happened on Seneca Avenue November 30, was released Thursday. It shows the man fall off a bench and remain on the ground for more than two minutes before police or EMTs offer aid.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he will not get out of our truck, and he’s got to go,” a female member of the ambulance team tells police in the video.

“I couldn’t breathe,” the man says.

“Honey, you told us you had pain from drinking water, and then you came in, and you jumped at me and my partner, and you demanded oxygen, and you would not let go of me,” the woman says.

“I was freaking out,” the man tells police. “You’d freak out too if you can’t breathe.”

“I hear you,” the officer says. “I’d probably try to control myself a little bit better. I’m not going to grab on anybody.”

“I was trying to grab for the door,” the man says. “I was trying to get out of here.”

Blue light camera footage shows the man walk to a nearby bench and sit down. He falls off the bench a short time later and remains on the ground for just over two minutes before police approach and shine a flashlight at him. The video ends with the man on the ground surrounded by first responders.

That man died about a month later from health issues, Evans said, though it is unclear whether his death was alleged to have any connection to the incident.

“City residents are people, and they deserve to be treated humanely and with the same attention as anyone else,” Evans said.

Evans said he did not know why police were called to the ambulance. The City of Rochester issued a letter and subpoenaed AMR for more information. Rochester Police Chief David Smith also called for an internal investigation to determine what happened.

Evans said he learned of the incident Tuesday from the man’s family members, people he knows who he says are active in the community.

“I was not pleased that I was learning about this just now,” he said. “We will not stand for procedural delays that hold up critical information that must be shared broadly.”

Evans told the city council about the incident Thursday afternoon before holding a press conference, “even though we don’t have all the answers yet,” he said. “I could not in good conscience know that we have a blue light camera of this incident and not put it out there in the public.”

AMR’s parent company GMR released a statement Thursday evening, saying:

With respect to the City of Rochester’s January 11th press conference about a November 30, 2023, incident. We reached out to the family and do not have permission to speak about the details of this incident due to patient privacy laws. We viewed the video for the first time yesterday and have launched an internal investigation. We have also requested an investigation by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of EMS and Trauma Systems.

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