RPD hits departmental charge on Officer Vaughn: Excessive force, discourteous

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Here are the RPD departmental charges against Officer Mark Vaughn: Excessive force and being discourteous — the police way of saying not being polite or professional.

None of the other officers involved in the Daniel Prude case are charged internally by RPD. They are still suspended with pay.

I spoke with Officer Vaughn’s attorney Friday morning. At the time, James Nobles didn’t know what the department charges were and therefore declined to talk on camera.

Officer Vaughn was the first officer on the scene on March 23, 2020.

Vaughn’s body camera video shows him handcuff Daniel Prude. Video also showed him pin Prude’s head to the pavement when he and two other officers held him to the ground.

Prude stopped breathing about two minutes later.

I tried to talk to Prude’s brother Joe Friday. He went out of town, but he said this two weeks ago.

Joe Prude, brother of Daniel Prude: "I mean, let’s be real with each other. They know they did something wrong."

Reverend Lewis Stewart runs the United Christian Leadership Ministries and said this about the charges against Officer Vaughn.

Rev. Lewis Stewart, United Christian Leadership Ministries: "I felt that it’s a step in the right direction towards justice but I don’t think it goes far enough."

He’s talking about the other officers at the scene.

Rev. Lewis Stewart: "They should not get away free with that. They should be severely reprimanded and put up on charges also."

Brean: "Your client was Officer Taladay."

Dan Mastrella, attorney for Officer Taladay: "That’s correct."

Brean: "What is his status now as far as you know?"

Mastrella: "He is still suspended with pay."

When the police did what they called segmenting to Prude, Officer Taladay had his knee on prude’s back.

The police union says this is a trained technique.

Taladay was also the officer shown checking prude’s arm and pulse.

Mastrella: "These officers did what they were trained to do. That’s what they were supposed to do in this circumstance. They feel, of course, horrible that Mr. Prude did not the ordeal but they truly were not responsible for his death."

Taladay was not charged by the department but he is still suspended with pay.

Brean: "What does Officer Taladay want to do? Does he want to get back on duty or does he want to go do something else?"

Mastrella: "Absolutely. No, he would love to be back on duty. I think all of them would."

RPD said Taladay and the other officers will first go to professional development to get trained on new policies.

None of the police officers were ever charged with a crime. The internal case for Officer Vaughn can go from three to six months.

An arbitrator will decide if the charges stick and if so, what the punishment should be, but then it goes back to the police chief for the final decision.

With a new mayor starting in three months, it could be a new chief facing that decision.