Rochester mayor suspends officers involved in Daniel Prude death

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NewsNation Now just obtained the full, raw body camera video in the Daniel Prude case Thursday. The video, which is about 90 minutes long, contains graphic language and images. Viewer discretion is advised.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (NewsNation Now) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced Thursday the seven officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude have been suspended with pay.

“I am suspending the officers in question today against council’s advice, and I urge the attorney general to complete her investigation,” Mayor Warren said. “I understand that the union may sue the city for this, they shall feel free to do so — I have been sued before.”

Prude, 41, died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after Rochester police took him into custody. Prude’s family said he was suffering a mental health episode, but on the bodycam video, his brother can be heard telling the responding officer that Prude is high on PCP.

The city halted its investigation into Prude’s death when New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office began its own investigation in April.

In part of the bodycam video obtained by NewsNation, Prude is seen on the ground, naked and speaking incoherently. At one point, police place a mesh hood over his head, which is standard procedure when a subject is spitting. Prude appears agitated and to be spitting. Prude demands they remove the hood.

Later in the footage, Prude argues with the officers and struggles. They force him to the ground and hold him down. 11 minutes after the first officer arrives, they place him in an ambulance. Prude died in the hospital seven days later.

“In addition, I have addressed with the police chief how deeply, personally, and professionally disappointing — he needs to do better to truly protect and serve our community and I believe he will,” Mayor Warren said Thursday. “I have since order the chief to provide me with video from any in-custody death, or use of force incident, within 24 hours, and charge him to provide a plan within 30 days to further address the police department’s response to mental health calls.”

Mayor Warren’s plan calls for the city to provide $300,000 to programs involving mental health 911 calls.

The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude as a homicide. It says the cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint due to excited delirium due to acute phencyclidine intoxication.” The report also showed that Prude had PCP in his system at the time of his death.

“I was informed later by [police chief] Singletary that Mr. Prude had an apparent overdose while in custody,” Mayor Warren said. “I only learned of those officers actions on August 4 when cooperation council Tim Curtin reviewed the video for the FOIL request by Prude’s family. At no time before August 4 did Singletary or anyone make me aware of the officers’ actions in regard to Mr. Prude’s death.”

The seven Rochester police officers include three that were named in a police report obtained by the attorney representing Prude’s family: Officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, and Fransisco Santiago.

NewsNation affiliate WROC contributed to this report

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