Prude attorney releases statement on city’s report on death

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The attorney for the family of Daniel Prude has released a statement in response to the report released by the City of Rochester on Monday about the events surrounding the incident that led to Prude’s death.

In the statement, Elliot Shields says that it is "outrageous" that he and his clients had not been able to see the documents involved until today, as they had requested them back in April. He also says that the documents provide "key evidence" that Mayor Lovely Warren, Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, and Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin were involved in a cover-up.

The full statement is below:

We requested all these documents in our April 3, 2020 Freedom of Information Law request. It is outrageous that the City refused to produce these documents to us and that we are seeing them for the first time today.

Importantly, the report includes an email from former Police Chief La’Ron Singletary dated April 10, 2020 to Records Access Officer Justin Roj, in which Singletary states, “[t]he Mayor has been in the loop on such since 3/23. [The Law Department] is in the loop. I am just waiting on the Mayor to call me back to give her the update on the M.E.’s ruling”, which was issued that day and determined that Mr. Prude’s death was a “homicide.”

This is clear evidence that the cover up in this case implicated officials at the highest levels in City Hall and in the RPD. It also demonstrates the systemic problems within the department, and the City’s deliberate indifference to the department’s culture of lying about excessive force incidents to cover for the offending officers.

Regarding the Mayor’s call on the Department of Justice to investigate this incident:

On November 7, 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an eleventh-hour memorandum entitled, Principles and Procedures for Civil Consent Decrees and Settlement Agreements with State and Local Governmental Entities (the “Sessions Memorandum”), which effectively ended the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”)’s ability to challenge the unconstitutional policies and practices of state and local law enforcement agencies.

Mayor Lovely Warren should have known this prior to her press conference. Thus, her call on the DOJ to investigate the City and RPD’s mishandling of the Daniel Prude incident rings hollow, and we still have no assurances that she is actually committed to bringing about systemic reforms in the RPD.

However, we encourage the City to work with the state Attorney General, Letitia James, who has proven herself as a leader for investigating systemic problems of police misconduct.

Click here for full coverage on the death of Daniel Prude.