Advocates, Daniel Prude’s brother renew demands for change one year after Prude’s death was made public
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)—Community advocates and members of Daniel Prude’s family gathered Thursday to mark one year since Prude’s death after he was taken in Rochester Police custody was first announced to the public.
During Thursday’s briefing outside the Public Safety Building, advocates from Free the People ROC claimed nothing has changed since Prude’s death was brought to light, and renewed demands for immediate change.
Body camera footage shows Daniel Prude pinned to the ground by Rochester police officers on March 23, 2020, on Jefferson Avenue. Prude was not breathing and had no pulse after the officers restrained and handcuffed him. He died seven days later in the hospital after being taken off life support. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide and says Prude died from complications of asphyxia due to physical restraint, excited delirium and PCP.
Prude’s death didn’t become public knowledge until early September 2020.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER
Mayor Lovely Warren suspended seven officers for their involvement in Prude’s death. In February it was announced that the officers would not face criminal charges. Soon after, a judge granted Attorney General Letitia James’s request to unseal the grand jury minutes.
Transcripts showed the grand jury voted 15-5 to clear the three officers involved in his restraint of a criminally negligent homicide charge sought by prosecutors.
The officers remain suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation, and organizers renewed their call for the officers to be fired.
The department has not yet shared any details about the outcome of the investigation, saying only Interim Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan’s command staff is reviewing it.
Additionally, organizers renewed a push for Daniel’s Law to be passed. The law would establish both state and regional mental health response councils which would permit mental health professionals to respond to mental health and substance abuse emergencies.
The bill was first introduced by New York Assemblyman Harry Bronson and Senator Samra Brouk in February.
FTP previously had called for the immediate resignation of Mayor Lovely Warren, who lost the Democratic Mayoral primary to City Councilman Malik Evans in June.
Warren, and the City of Rochester received criticisms for their handling of the investigation, as an attorney hired to independently investigate the city concluded it "suppressed" information from getting to the public and made "untrue statements."
Former RPD Chief La’Ron Singletary. who was fired by Warren after he initially announced plans to retire, filed a lawsuit against the City, and Warren for defamation of character, a hostile work environment, and wrongful and retaliatory termination. Singletary says Warren’s comments and the work environment contributed to his initial decision to retire.
In December, the City of Rochester’s Office of Public Integrity released its report, saying it found "no evidence" that any city employee violated any "policies or ethical standards" in connection with Prude’s death.
Additionally, several FTP organizers and protestors filed a massive civil rights lawsuit against the Rochester Police Department, alleging they were injured by RPD while they protested Prude’s death.
Daniel Prude’s five children have also filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit.
Hours before Thursday’s press conference, RPD released updated use of force guidelines, including use of force against minors.