Prude Death Investigation

City of Rochester officials say police union president Mike Mazzeo received Daniel Prude video in April

Daniel Prude

In this image taken from police body camera video provided by Roth and Roth LLP, a Rochester police officer puts a hood over the head of Daniel Prude, on March 23, 2020, in Rochester, N.Y. Video of Prude, a Black man who had run naked through the streets of the western New York city, died of asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records released Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, by his family. Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester. (Rochester Police via Roth and Roth LLP via AP)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — City of Rochester officials accused Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo of lying about when he received the body worn camera footage regarding Daniel Prude’s encounter with police.

At a press conference last Friday, Mazzeo said he first saw the video when it surfaced publicly two days prior.

City officials say Mazzeo was included on an email chain as far back as April that included the footage of Prude’s encounter with police back in March.

The city provided a pair of emails as evidence:

The Rochester Police Locust Club has not immediately returned a request for comment.

At a press conference Wednesday about the shake-up in Rochester Police Department leadership, Mazzeo called for Mayor Lovely Warren to resign.

“The safety of the community cannot be carried out with Mayor Warren in office,” Mazzeo said.

Mayor Warren responded shortly after, calling for Mazzeo to resign:

“For 30 years, the problem with policing in Rochester are cops like Mike Mazzeo that watch the video of Daniel Prude’s death and see nothing wrong.

Who believe there is nothing wrong with driving Mr. Prude’s head into the street. Who believe there is nothing wrong with other officers standing by, joking and failing to intervene while Mr. Prude is dying. Who think its fine to just casually ignore him as he takes his last breath, and then callously and falsely inform his brother who begged for him not to be harmed.

Mike Mazzeo and his ilk exist only to protect and serve themselves, and certainly not the people of the City of Rochester.

It is time for Mike Mazzeo to resign, because his archaic ways of policing are no longer wanted in the City of Rochester.”

Prude, a 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, died after an encounter with Rochester police back in March, but news of the incident just came to light Wednesday, and now the case is being investigated by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude a homicide. The report says Prude’s cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed that Prude also had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death, which could explain his erratic behavior.

Seven Rochester police officers have been suspended with pay in connection to the incident: Officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sgt. Michael Magri.

A federal civil lawsuit filed from the Prude family against the City of Rochester alleges there was an internal cover-up. Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, and other command staff within the department, have since announced their retirements.

Protests have been ongoing in Rochester since the news broke Wednesday.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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