Author: Rachel Barnhart

Rickey Bryant, the teenager who claimed police broke his eye socket in a case of mistaken identity, received a $360,000 settlement from the City of Rochester. That’s according to the city checkbook registry, which shows a payment to the city insurance company on January 5. Rochester for All obtained the registry through the Freedom of Information Law.

The city denied an open records request filed by WHEC-TV for the information saying,  “In order to protect the interests of our taxpayers, we do not disclose the terms of our settlements.”

That’s a recent change in city policy, one that the Committee on Open Government said does not comply with open records laws. The city previously provided such information.

In a federal lawsuit, Bryant said police confronted him after the Puerto Rican Festival in 2016, knocking him off of his bicycle and subjecting him to punches and kicks. Bryant, who was 17, was not arrested. Police had been looking for someone with a gun. In a letter to Bryant’s family, the police chief said the allegations against the officers were “unprovable.”

About this project: 

The City of Rochester has a budget exceeding $550 million. Much of that spending takes place out of the public view. There are no line items in the annual budget book for expenditures such as catered lunches or baseball tickets. City Council doesn’t vote on all business grants and loans. The spending also reveals settlements that are not made public.

A good way to examine spending is to obtain the city checkbook registry. Through open records requests, we analyzed the city’s checkbook registries.

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