RPD chief on incident involving officer: ‘This was an attack’

Rochester, N.Y. – The man accused of injuring a Rochester Police officer will make his first court appearance on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the chief of police did not mince words Monday when describing Jamal Dima’s alleged attack on a Rochester Police officer Sunday morning.

“A line of duty injury, to me, is a police officer getting into a car accident, a police officer spraining his ankle,” said La’Ron Singletary. “This was an attack.”

Singletary says two of his officers, Brian Cala and Louis Mastrangelo, responded to a home on Glendale Park around 11 a.m. Sunday for the report of a man breaking windows and taillights on a vehicle.

When they knocked on the door of the home, Singletary says Dima, 20, “made a beeline” for Cala and stabbed him in the face. Cala drew his service weapon and fired five rounds, Singletary said, hitting Dima once in the left wrist.

The entire incident spanned just two to three seconds, the chief said.

Dima allegedly fled from the scene and was taken into custody on Dewey Avenue south of Emerson Street.

Both Cala and Dima suffered injuries not considered life-threatening. Cala was discharged Sunday night, while Dima was discharged Monday morning.

Dima is facing one count of attempted aggravated assault of a police officer. Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley says additional charges may be recommended to the grand jury.

Cala is a 22-year veteran of the RPD and was named officer of the year in 2011. Mastrangelo is a 12-year veteran.

Singletary said the police department has had prior encounters with Dima, but he would not give details.

“I think it’s to the credit to the training that they receive – I think it’s second to none – that Officer Cala did not suffer more severe injuries than what he did,” said Singletary.

Cala’s attack comes a little more than three months after Officer Denny Wright was stabbed as he responded to a call on Peck Street.

“When you have an officer injured in the line of duty, it should be something the community takes seriously, because if someone was willing to injure an officer, who knows what they’re willing to do to a citizen,” said Singletary.

“Hopefully, we don’t continue to see these assaults on officers, but it’s becoming utterly ridiculous at this point,” he continued. “…I think it points to some of the narrative you see across the country. Certainly, there are other things, I think, in the community that are sometimes outside law enforcement’s purview, but ultimately, when people call 911, we respond and we deal with it.”

Dima is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning.

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