State Watch

Rochester mayor announces reforms after Daniel Prude’s death

Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Lovely Warren (D) on Sunday vowed to enact police reforms amid protests in response to the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died of asphyxiation earlier this year after local police put a hood over his head and pressed his head to a street for two minutes.

{mosads}“Over the last few nights, we have seen righteous anger and heartfelt protests from many residents of our community. I know the vast majority of the people that have taken to our streets do so with pure hearts, good intentions to ensure tragedies like the death of Mr. Prude never happen again,” she said at a press conference.

“It is my solemn duty as the mayor of this city to honor Mr. Prude and to not let his death be in vain and to do everything possible to transform how we police our city, to truly protect and serve our residents,” she said.

Prude died at the age of 41 in March after police in Rochester were seen putting a hood on his face and holding his face to the ground for two minutes. He had been apprehended by local police after running naked outside, according to The Associated Press.

He was reportedly placed on life support within days of the encounter and died after being taken off. The case only garnered widespread publicity following the release of videos of records by Prude’s family last week.

Amid continued protests in the city over the death of Prude, Warren said on Sunday that the city will be doubling its availability of mental health professionals. She also said the city will be taking its family crisis intervention team “out of the police department and move it and its funding to the Department of Youth and Recreation Services.”

She also said she will be working with a race commission to better the city’s response to mental health crises and reenvision our police department.”

“However, this work wont be done in a week or in a weekend,” she said, adding, “To do this right, we would need to continue to deliver consistent progressive the coming weeks, months and years.”

“But I am committed addressing these challenges and ensuring that change truly comes,” she said.

La’Ron Singletary, the local police chief, also delivered remarks at the press conference on Sunday, saying he understands “there are certain calls that law enforcement shouldn’t handle alone” as concerns rise over the department’s handling of mental health cases following Prude’s death.

He also said and other officials are “looking at ways to reimagine policing surrounding mental health and have been for the last several months.”

This past week, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said her office will be selecting a grand jury as part of its “exhaustive investigation” into Prude’s death. Warren also suspended the seven officers that were involved in his death last week.

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