Rochester Democratic Mayor Lovely Warren suspended seven officers Thursday who were involved in the March death of Daniel Prude.
“I am suspending the officers in question today against council’s advice, and I urge the attorney general to complete her investigation,” Warren said, according to Rochester First. “I understand that the union may sue the city for this, they shall feel free to do so-I have been sued before.”
Warren said the suspensions are a step in the right direction toward justice, according to USA Today.
“The only way we can confront systemic racism in our city is to face it head-on. There can not be a justice system for white people and a justice system for Black people.”
Prude had been visiting his brother, Joe Prude, in Rochester on March 22 when he was sent to a hospital for evaluation after suicidal thoughts. However, he was later released. Joe Prude called the police around 3 a.m. on March 23, noting Prude had left the house. (RELATED: DC Police Release Body Cam Footage Of Fatal Shooting Of Deon Kay)
Police found Prude naked and said he had smashed storefront windows prior to their arrival. Prude allegedly told officers he had the coronavirus.
As Prude sat naked on the ground, handcuffed, he began spitting and shouting at police to “give me your gun, I need it,” according to newly released video footage. Officers put a spit hood over Prude to prevent transmitting his saliva. Prude appeared to resist the hood and an officer can be seen pushing his head into the ground while another kneels on his back, according to video.
Prude fell unconscious after roughly two minutes and was later transported to a hospital. He died seven days later from brain damage.
Warren said the system failed Prude during Thursday’s press conference, per Rochester First.
“Mr. Daniel Prude was failed by our police department, our mental health care system, our society and, he was failed by me,” said Warren. “Daniel Prude’s death has proven yet again that many of the challenges we faced in the past are the same challenges we face today.”
Warren’s decision to suspend the officers comes after activists demanded the firing and prosecution of the officers involved in Prude’s death, per the same report.
Warren said she has since ordered the police chief to provide all videos from any in-custody deaths or use of force incidents within 24 hours, as well as provide a plan within 30 days to address how police respond to mental health calls.
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the video “deeply disturbing” in an official statement.
“Last night, I watched the video of Daniel Prude’s death in Rochester. What I saw was deeply disturbing and I demand answers. Under Executive Order 147…the Attorney General is investigating and I have full faith that she will complete a thorough review of the facts, get to the bottom of what happened and ensure that justice is served.”
Daniel Prude’s death in Rochester demands answers.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/VUdO1fe77A
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 3, 2020
State Attorney General Letitia James is currently conducting the investigation into Prude’s death.