ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, died in custody of the Rochester police back in March, but that fact didn’t become public until last week.
Here’s what we know: In a timeline of events that transpired from March until now — constructed through police reports, body camera footage, autopsy reports, press conferences, news releases, public statements and more. Additionally, as more information regarding Daniel Prude’s death comes to light, we will continue to update this article to reflect that.
March 22, 2020
Around 8:35 a.m. on March 22, 2020 Village of Depew Police, located east of Buffalo, responded to the Amtrak station for a report of customer trouble. That customer, later identified as Daniel Prude, received complaints from Amtrak personnel regarding smoking on-board.
By the time police arrived, Prude was already off the train. According to police, a Depew dispatcher contacted Rochester Police in an attempt to contact Prude’s family, and Rochester police did not have any information on his family.
Depew police says Prude refused any further assistance and proceeded to the bus stop without incident.
“There was nothing remarkable about Mr. Prude’s behavior at that time,” Depew Police Lt. William Curr said.
Later that day, Depew Police received a call from Joseph Prude, one of Daniel’s family members. He said Daniel has ADHD. Joe said he was also concerned Daniel may have little-to-no money and no cell phone either, according to authorities. Curr said Cheektowaga Police later reported Daniel was picked up and taken to Harbor House.
“Aside from the brief encounter at the Amtrak station our officers had no other interaction with Daniel Prude,” Curr concluded.
Later on that Sunday, Prude was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, around 7:30 p.m., according to his brother, Joe, who says Daniel was released from the hospital around 11 p.m. and brought back to his home.
A statement from Strong Memorial Hospital regarding Prude’s care was sent Thursday afternoon:
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Prude family over the death of Daniel Prude and the traumatic events that preceded it.
Privacy laws prevent us from discussing Daniel Prude’s evaluation or treatment at Strong Memorial Hospital. However, our care teams follow all applicable laws and standards of clinical care regarding evaluation and treatment of patients under Mental Health Arrest. We are conducting a thorough internal review and have offered to meet with the family to share with them all details of his care at Strong.”
March 23, 2020
About four hours after his release from the hospital, Joe Prude says he called 911 again after Daniel took off from his house, half-clothed.
It was just after 3 a.m. on Monday March 23, 2020 when Rochester police responded to Jefferson Avenue where they encountered a naked Daniel Prude. Joe says Daniel was going through a mental health crisis. An autopsy report would later indicate the presence of phencyclidine, or PCP, in Prude’s body. It was about 32 degrees with some snow falling when police arrived.
3:16:08 a.m. — Police arrive and tell Prude to get on the ground.
3:17:10 a.m. — Officer gets on the radio to ask, “Can I get the rig to Cady and Jeff?”
3:17:30 a.m. — Officer tells other officer that Prude told a tow truck driver he had coronavirus.
3:19:20 a.m. — Officer puts what appears to be a spit mask over Prude’s head.
3:20:20 a.m. — Officer tells Prude to stop spitting.
3:20:30 a.m. — Officer tells Prude, “You’re going to sit” then tells fellow officers, “I got it. I’m already in it.” Officer puts Prude’s head on the ground, holds it there telling him to calm down. Prude makes gurgling sounds.
3:21:20 a.m. — Officer asks, “Can you get the gurney out, please?”
3:21:35 a.m. — Officer tells Prude to stop spitting. From here, Prude isn’t talking, some soft whimpering is heard.
3:22:20 a.m. — Prude goes quiet.
3:22:34 a.m. — Officer asks Prude, “You good, man?”
3:22:45 a.m. — Prude appears to throw up. Officer asks, “You puking, man?” then says to others, “He’s puking … straight water.” No sound coming from Prude after that.
3:23:25 a.m. — Officer asks, “Is he still moving his arm?”
3:23:30 a.m. — Officer says, “It doesn’t even look like he has chest compressions.” Prude is rolled over on his side.
3:24:20 a.m. — Someone asks, “Does he have a pulse?” Someone responds saying no. EMT says, “Start CPR.”
3:25:35 a.m. — EMT tells officer, “PCP can cause what we call excited delirium. I guarantee you that’s why he coded. It’s not your guys’ fault. You have to keep yourselves safe.”
Prude was then taken to the hospital and put on life support.
According to city officials, Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary called Mayor Lovely Warren at about 7 a.m. that morning to inform her of what happened. At that time, the chief told Warren that Prude had suffered from an apparent drug overdose. He told the mayor that Prude could die, and that an investigation could be forthcoming because of an in-custody death.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a statewide shutdown, hospitals were not allowed to have visitors, so Joe, nor any other family members, could visit Daniel while he was in the hospital.
March 30, 2020
Daniel Prude died after a week in the hospital on life support.
Chief Singletary calls Mayor Warren to inform her of Prude’s passing and that an investigation into the incident is underway. The chief reiterates the sentiment from the week prior that Prude’s death was the result of a drug overdose. The Mayor later says this is the last time she hears about the Prude death case until August 4, 2020.
March 31, 2020
An autopsy report conducted by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s office determines the cause of Mr. Prude’s death a homicide — specifically, the cause of death stated on the autopsy report says “Complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint due to Excited delirium due to Acute phencyclidine intoxication. The manner of death is Homicide.”
The autopsy report lists an external exam start of March 31, 2020 at 11:07 a.m. with an internal exam start of March 21, 2020 at 12:40 p.m. The report also lists an external end time of March 31, 2020 at 11:50 a.m. with an internal exam end time of March 31, 2020 at 1:15 p.m.
April 3, 2020
According to attorneys representing the Prude family, preservation and FOIL requests were filed to the City of Rochester three days after Daniel Prude’s death, so that all evidence, including police worn body camera footage, would be maintained.
It would still take months until the Prude family finally saw what happened on March 23 when Daniel encountered police on Jefferson Avenue.
April 8, 2020
A toxicology report is issue for the death of Daniel Prude sent to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, from NMS Labs in Horsham, Pennsylvania. This toxicology report confirmed the presence of phencyclidine in Daniel Prude’s body at the time of this death.
April 16, 2020
Monroe County District Attorney’s Office receives the cause of death of Daniel Prude. Officials from the District Attorney’s office say they received the cause of death from the Rochester Police Department.
Due to New York State’s Executive Order No. 147 — which appoints the attorney general as special prosecutor in cases where law enforcement officers are involved in deaths of civilians — the District Attorney’s Office notified the Attorney General’s Office of the incident.
April 21, 2020
The official letter of jurisdiction was sent to the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office from Jennifer Sommers of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, confirming that the attorney general would be taking over the case of Daniel Prude.
April 27, 2020
According to a federal civil rights lawsuit, filed by the Prude family against the City of Rochester and a number of RPD officers, the RPD’s Major Crimes Unit issued an official report that concluded “the involved officers acted appropriately and in accordance with their training.”
The Major Crimes Unit investigates homicides, and their report came after the autopsy report indicated Prude’s cause of death was indeed a homicide. The lawsuit disputes the claims of officers acting appropriately, and lays out specific protocol regarding “non-traditional deadly physical force.”
The lawsuit said the RPD conclusion made on April 27 contradicts its own written policies and that by clearing those involved of any wrongdoing, officers faced no disciplinary action until after the video of the body camera footage was made public by the Prude family more than five months after the incident.
May 18, 2020
Attorneys say this was the day the Prude family first saw the autopsy report, including the cause of death, which was ruled a homicide.
At this point in time, the family, nor the attorneys representing them had seen the police worn body camera footage from the incident. And to reiterate, the public was still in the dark about the in-custody death of Daniel Prude, the footage from the scene, the autopsy report, an internal RPD investigation, or an attorney general’s investigation.
June 4, 2020
City of Rochester officials say on June 4, Stephanie Prince, an attorney for the City’s Law Department, spoke with Assistant Attorney General Sommers who confirmed an ongoing investigation into the death of Daniel Prude.
City officials say that Sommers asked city officials to withhold releasing information about Prude’s death because it would interfere with the attorney general’s investigation. According to city officials, the city complied with this request.
However, the attorney general’s office would later refute this claim and say such a request was never made:
“There was never a request from the Attorney General’s Office to the city of Rochester Corporation Counsel to withhold information about the events surrounding the death of Daniel Prude, plain and simple. Once again, the city of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department are free to move forward with their own investigation.”
City officials later provided an email exchange between Prince and Sommers, on the dates of June 10 and August 4, but there was no mention of a request to withhold information on those emails provided by the city.
June 12, 2020
Don Thompson, an attorney representing the Prude family, watches the police worn body camera footage for the first time with officials from the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
The Prude family was not there for this meeting and, at this point, had still not seen the video of Daniel Prude’s encounter with police.
July 21, 2020
The Prude family, for the first time, sees the police worn body camera footage of Daniel’s encounter with police. The Prude family is showed this video at the attorney general’s office, and one of their attorneys, Elliot Shields, is present and also witnessing the video for the first time.
August 4, 2020
Mayor Warren says August 4 is when she sees the body camera footage of Prude’s encounter with police for the first time. She later says she wanted to speak publicly about it, but says at the advise of her legal counsel, she did not.
The mayor also says she speaks with Chief Singletary and sets a new policy that states anytime there is a civilian death in police custody, she needs to know about it, and see any relevant video or documents, within 24 hours of the incident.
At this time, the public remains in the dark about the Prude death investigation.
On this day, as alluded to in the above email exchange between Sommers and Prince, the attorney general’s office confirms they have showed the body camera footage with the attorneys representing the Prude family.
September 2, 2020
Joe Prude, attorneys representing the family, and activists with Free the People ROC, a local Black Lives Matter group, gather on the steps of Rochester City Hall to announce details pertaining to Daniel Prude’s death publicly for the first time.
They said Prude was murdered by police and the incident was covered up by Mayor Warren and Chief Singletary. They said the officers should be immediately fired, prosecuted and convicted and that the mayor and chief should resign.
Attorneys indicate they have filed a notice of claim with intentions to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Rochester.
Free the People ROC announce Daniel Prude’s death
During the press conference, it was announced that the investigation was being handled by the attorney general’s office.
Shortly after this press conference, police worn body camera footage, along with supporting documentation obtained through a FOIL request, was released to local media.
Much of the disturbing video was described in the March 23 portion of this timeline above.
MORE | WATCH: Footage of encounter between Daniel Prude and Rochester police officers before his death
Not long after the body camera video was being seen publicly for the first time, attorneys representing the Prude family released the results of an autopsy report. That report ruled the death of Daniel Prude a homicide.
Specifically, it said Prude’s cause of death included “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.
As more and more news regarding Prude’s death started to become public for the first time since his passing months prior, Mayor Warren and Chief Singletary called a press conference at the Public Safety Building.
As that press conference was being set up, a protest began outside the Public Safety Building. Only media was permitted to attend the press conference and several activists were arrested for attempting to enter the building.
At the press conference, the mayor and chief said there was no cover-up from City Hall.
“At no point in time did we feel that this was something that we wanted not to disclose,” Mayor Warren said. “It is always something that we want to be forthright, up front about with our citizens — whether we’re talking about what happened with Mr. Pate, or what happened with Trevyan Rowe, or any other citizen in our city. I have been first to come forward and stand with our citizens and let them know the process going forward. In this particular case, this is handled by another agency. Unfortunately it is now September 2 and we do not have a report from the AG’s office.”
“This is not a cover up. There is no cover up whatsoever,” Chief Singletary said. “We’re going to take a look at this criminal investigation. The internal investigation looks at whether the officers violated policy and procedures of the Rochester Police Department. From day one we have been in conversation with the investigating authorities as such. Like the mayor said we don’t have a problem holding anyone accountable. At this particular point in time, that’s why I’m waiting for the investigation to unfold to determine what the next step will be.”
At that press conference, Chief Singletary confirmed that none of the officers involved at the scene with Prude had been suspended.
Mayor Warren, Chief Singletary’s Wednesday press conference
In a conference call with media Wednesday evening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he had not seen the video yet, but heard it was “disturbing,” and said the attorney general’s office was actively investigating the situation.
“It’s all she’s been doing since July, so I don’t want to comment on an ongoing investigation, but people should know that it is under investigation and it has been for months by the attorney general,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I haven’t watched it, I am going to watch it tonight,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It was described to me, and the way it was described is disturbing.”
While news of Daniel Prude’s death began to spread around the country, his brother Joe demanded justice for what he called a “cold-blood murder.” Joe said his brother was laying down — naked, handcuffed, and unarmed — when officers killed him. He said an officer pushed Daniel’s head into the ground.
“That matter was a call for help, I see you sitting here in a push up stance on my brother’s damn neck. How are you sitting here with your knee in my brother’s damn back when he’s defenseless, he’s got on no damn clothes,” Joe said. “How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”
Meanwhile, a protest waged on Wednesday night outside the Public Safety Building. Two of the nine people arrested Wednesday included local Black Lives Matter organizers Stanley Martin and Ashley Gantt, speakers at the initial press conference regarding Prude’s death. They were among the activists arrested for trying to access the mayor and chief’s press conference.
Protesters arrested at Public Safety Building
“Our biggest concern is that murderers are out on the loose,” Martin said Wednesday. “They killed someone and they are still patrolling our communities and that is our biggest concern. They need to be arrested, fired, and prosecuted immediately.”
September 3, 2020
In the early hours the following morning, a vigil ensued on Jefferson Avenue, on Rochester’s southwest side, where Prude encountered police back in March before his death.
A few hours later, two civil rights groups — Community Justice Initiative and United Christian Leadership Ministry — came together on the steps of Rochester City Hall to echo the calls from Free the People Roc, and demand the immediate firing and prosecution of the officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude.
When asked if the demonstrations that began the night before would continue, Community Justice Initiative representatives said protests would continue “non-stop” until justice was served. They also called for the resignation of Chief Singletary.
“The press conference should have been held March 24, the day after,” said Miquel Powell, Community Justice Initiative. “If you cover up a homicide for six months, I think that’s criminal, so of course they should resign because the people have lost confidence in them.”
“Again, another innocent Black man, unarmed, was snuffed out by police officers,” said Rev. Lewis Stewart of United Christian Leadership Ministry. “This time it did not take place in another city, nor another state. It happened right here in Frederick Douglass city. We watched in horror at the video footage, which clearly depicted three officers who placed a bag over Mr. Prude’s head, twisted a knot in the back of his neck, which was essentially a form of strangulation.”
Rev. Lewis Stewart press conference
Later on that afternoon, Mayor Warren announced that seven Rochester police officers involved in the encounter Daniel Prude were 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.”
The seven suspended officers are Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sgt. Michael Magri.
The mayor also addressed her disappointment in Chief Singletary, and ordered a change in policy that would require her to be notified of an in-custody death within 24 hours.
“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. “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.”
Included in more resources for mental health calls, Mayor Warren’s plan calls for the city to provide $300,000 to “double availability of Monroe County FIT Team, or retool the FACIT program to respond to mental health 911 calls, until permanent solution is developed.
The mayor announced publicly that she was never told about the officers putting their hands on Prude during the encounter. She says she was told by Chief Singletary that Prude had suffered a drug overdose.
“I was informed later by Mr. 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 mayor also echoed the calls of Free the People ROC Thursday in that all charges against protesters should be dropped.
Mayor Warren’s Thursday press conference
Later Thursday, Gov. Cuomo released a statement upon seeing the body camera footage from Prude’s encounter with Rochester police:
“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, which I signed in 2015 after the death of Eric Garner, 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.
For the sake of Mr. Prude’s family and the greater Rochester community I am calling for this case to be concluded as expeditiously as possible. For that to occur we need the full and timely cooperation of the Rochester Police Department and I trust it will fully comply.”
Protests demanding justice for Daniel Prude continue Thursday in downtown Rochester where demonstrators clashed with responding officers. In total eight people were arrested, and police say two officers were injured.
According to RPD Captain Michael Callari, “Rocks and glass bottles were thrown at officers. Two were injured, requiring hospitalization. They were treated and released.”
During Thursday’s protest, multiple rounds of pepper balls were launched at demonstrators in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
Activists would later criticize the police for excessive force during Thursday’s demonstration.
Protesters clash with police Thursday in Rochester
September 4, 2020
On Friday morning, the Rochester Police Locust Club held a press conference in the police union’s first public appearance since news of Prude’s death became public two days prior.
In that press conference Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo defended the actions of the officers in the encounter, saying that they followed protocol.
“What is going to prevent the same occurrence from happening tonight, or this weekend, to officers who have to follow a protocol?” Mazzeo said. “If the officer does something wrong outside of protocol, then they should be disciplined. If they follow protocol to a T, then what do you say to them? The questions should go to New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service. There’s videos that show exactly why and how that tactic is used to a T to what that officers did — they explain it.”
Mazzeo said he first became aware of the incident when the body camera footage became public. He said the union was notified about a FOIL request at the end of July, but that there was no indication about an in-custody death.
“Upon looking back, we found an email dated July 31 that indicated that a body worn video was going to be released — not files, not records, not reports, but video,” Mazzeo said. “It had no mention that it involved an in-custody death.”
Mazzeo was asked if the police chief should resign, after activists called for him to step down Thursday.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment on that,” Mazzeo said. “Should he be held accountable? Yes — and I think the person holding him accountable should be held accountable as well.”
Rochester Police Union President’s Friday press conference
Although police officials said Chief Singletary would be available for comment Friday, he went into a meeting with Mayor Warren at 2:30 p.m. The media was later notified that evening that the chief would not hold a press conference.
Friday afternoon, Free the People ROC held a press conference outside the Public Safety Building, accusing Rochester police of using excessive force during the protests Thursday.
Activists said police used pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse protesters from outside the Public Safety Building, and they demanded to know who called the orders for officers to follow. They say a man had a severe eye injury, and various other people were injured and hospitalized.
“We’re talking about what the police did and what they got paid to do was assault protesters last night,” said local Black Lives Matter organizer Ashley Gantt.
Organizers said Friday they would be filing lawsuits, adding that they would continue to demonstrate day and night until their demands were met.
Free the People Friday press conference
Also happening Friday, differing accounts from the mayor’s office and the office of the attorney general in regards to the investigation and releasing information to the public.
Prude died after encounter with Rochester police in March, yet word of his death, and how it happened, only became public after his family and the attorneys representing them released body camera footage in early September. The question on the minds of many in Rochester is simply “what took so long?”
As alluded to in the June 4 section of this timeline, officials from Mayor Warren’s Office said they were asked by the New York State Attorney General’s Office to not release information regarding the death of Prude, but the Attorney General’s office says that didn’t happen, “plain and simple.
A statement from the Attorney General’s Office Friday said:
“There was never a request from the Attorney General’s Office to the city of Rochester Corporation Counsel to withhold information about the events surrounding the death of Daniel Prude, plain and simple. Once again, the city of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department are free to move forward with their own investigation.”
That statement followed one from Mayor Warren’s Office Thursday night that said:
“On June 4, Stephanie Prince, an attorney for the City’s Law Department spoke with Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Sommers who confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation. Ms. Sommers also stated that, while she cannot legally advise us what to do, she asks that the City withhold the release of information including the body-worn camera footage, as the release will interfere with the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation. The City complied with the Attorney General’s office request.”
Rochester City Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin and City Attorney Prince held a press conference Friday where they laid out their side of the story. These city officials allege that on June 4, Deputy Chief Jennifer Sommers from the Attorney General’s office asked Prince to withhold release of information in regards to the investigation.
The city provided a few emails between Prince and Sommers, but there was no mention of a request to withhold information on those emails (screen shots included in June 4 section).
The Prude family attorney, Elliot Shields, said he requested the body camera video from the city on April 3. He said they ignored the request and he appealed. He said he was eventually told the city couldn’t give them the video until the attorney general’s investigation was complete.
However, as indicated in the screenshot emails the city provided, the attorney general’s office said on August 11 they had shared the video with the Prude family and their attorneys, even while the attorney general’s investigation was not complete.
Rochester Corporation Council Friday press conference
Friday was also the day that Rochester City Councilman Mitch Gruber called for subpoenas to find out what Mayor Lovely Warren knew in regards to the death of Daniel Prude that took place on March 23, penning a letter that said in part:
“I call upon my City Council colleagues to exercise our subpoena authority to uncover the truth. While I recognize there is an ongoing criminal investigation by the New York Start Attorney General’s office, City Council is granted broad oversight power. We must ensure the public receives an exact account of what the Warren administration knew, when they knew it, and what they did about it.”
That Friday evening, approximately 2,000 people gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Rochester to demand justice for Daniel Prude. Following speeches by Joe Prude as well as activists, some moments or prayer, and some songs being played, the group began to march around 9 p.m.
The group marched through the city — heading down East Avenue, to Alexander Street, through residential areas of Park Avenue and Tracey Street, to Monroe Avenue, and then down Chestnut Street. They chanted “Daniel Prude” often throughout the march.
When the protesters turned left down Court Street, they were met by a large police presence on the bridge over the Genesee River. Officers on megaphones announced “Rochester police has deemed this an unlawful assembly” and began launching pepper balls into the crowd.
Officers said demonstrators would be arrested if they stayed, yet many remained while others dispersed.
Protesters clashed with police well past 2 a.m. into Saturday. Around 1 a.m. a white vehicle was seen striking some protesters in the street while the driver sprayed mace out the window at demonstrators, as seen in this video:
Daniel Prude protesters March through Rochester before clash with police Friday
Police say some members of the crowd began small fires, including to a bus shelter and to garbage cans. According to the RPD, some protesters were setting off fireworks directly at officers.
Later on, some businesses in the area of East Avenue and Alexander Street reported some property damage as the group marched past earlier in the evening. One of those businesses was Ox and Stone:
Officials from Ox and Stone, part of the Swan Family of Restaurants, later released a statement to downplay the damage and highlight the importance of the movement:
“As always, the actions of a few agitators are amplified louder and louder as videos are shared and conclusions are drawn. We, now and always, stand with those standing against injustice.”
Rochester police announced later that 11 people were arrested during the Friday protest. Four of those individuals were remanded to the Monroe County Jail and seven were issued appearance tickets. Police said three officers were injured as a result of “projectiles and incendiary devices” being thrown at them. According to the RPD, officers were hospitalized and were later released.
Rochester police made no mention of any injuries to demonstrators in their press release on the protest.
September 5, 2020
Saturday morning, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter released a statement about Prude’s death and the protests that ensued. The statement read in part:
“I have always worked to build up rather than tear down. I remain committed to working together for solutions, to include mental health as well as drug and alcohol addiction response and diversion programs. We have been and remain steadfast in building up the community that we love. The eyes of the nation are on Rochester, now is the time to step up. We need to walk forward – together – one step at a time. The greater Rochester community is better than this. Let us be the example for the country.”
Later Saturday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced the Daniel Prude death investigation was moving to a grand jury — this was one of the demands made known by Free the People ROC.
“The Prude family and the Rochester community have been through great pain and anguish. My office will immediately move to empanel a grand jury as part of our exhaustive investigation into this matter,” a statement from the attorney general’s office said Saturday.
The attorney general’s move to empanel a grand jury was swiftly applauded by Gov. Cuomo, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Mayor Warren, and local Black Lives Matter groups.
Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, approximately 1,000 demonstrators gathered at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Dr. Samuel McCree Way — where Prude’s encounter with police occurred back in March.
After speeches and song, they marched downtown and the crowd grew along the way. The demonstrators eventually turned down Main Street with a stop at the steps of City Hall along the way for more speeches and words from organizers and activists.
From there, the demonstration went down State Street where they were met by police — and another violent clash ensued, with pepper balls, tear gas, bottles being thrown, fireworks, and more.
Daniel Prude protest turns violent in downtown Rochester Saturday
Rochester police say nine people were arrested during Saturday’s confrontation and said that some members of the RPD were injured.
Windows at City Hall were later found to have been cracked.
Activists said police used excessive force Saturday night.
“The inhumanity Rochester police unleashed last night is the product of an institution that has been granted too much power; Power to abuse the people they serve, power to respond to our voices with their violence, power to act with impunity,” said Iman Abid, NYCLU Genesee Valley Chapter Director, in a statement. “People speaking out are not enemy combatants, and to fire flash bangs, tear gas, and pepper balls at demonstrations against police violence only proves the point. The Mayor and RPD must stop these warfare tactics now.”
Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart (D-21) says she was on the front lines of the protest. She said on Twitter that RPD’s tactics need to change and that city leadership has failed the community.
Barnhart later told News 8 that she was struck by a projectile from police.
“I saw some small plastic bottles and a sparkler being thrown in the direction of police and police almost instantaneously open fired on about 1,000 protesters,” she said.
September 6, 2020
Following news of arrests and more accounts of excessive force by police, Community Justice Initiative held a press conference Sunday to address the “military tactics” of the Rochester Police Department from the night before.
Anthony Hall with CJI called on the resignation of Rochester Mayor Warren and Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary.
“We start off singing, dancing, eating, fellow-shipping, meditating before we take off to march — last night was horrendous,” Hall said. “We were met by a sub-military group. RPD militarized our peaceful community folk. RPD turned this thing into a war. Last night was a war setting, war zone, RPD did not let up at all. This can not go on. This is about liberation.”
Hall referred to pepper balls and tear gas deployed by RPD, after isolated incidents of fireworks and bottle-throwing in the streets. Hall said those incidents were started by outside agitators.
“These pepper balls are supposed to be shot at feet, so they can impact the ground, not hitting people in the face. I was hit in my face with a pepper ball,” Hall said.
Former Rochester City Court Judge Letitia Astacio was in attendance.
“If one person out of 3,000 people throws a water bottle at an officer in riot gear, and you think that means he can attack me with chemical warfare, you are insane and you’re not the type of person I want to talk to,” said Astacio. “There will be no justice if the police are the perpetrators.”
Community Justice Initiative Sunday press conference
Later Sunday, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren held a press conference, her first since Thursday. She was joined by Police Chief Singletary who had not spoken publicly since Wednesday’s initial announcement of Daniel Prude’s death.
In the wide-ranging press conference, that lasted just over 40 minutes, the Mayor and Chief addressed calls for their resignations, allegations of excessive force by police, strategies to de-escalate the nightly protests, a timeline of what they knew about the Prude death, when they knew it, and more.
The mayor defended Chief Singletary, saying she believes he’s the man to guide the community through these difficult times.
“I wholeheartedly believe that Chief La’Ron Singletary is the right person to lead us through these times,” Mayor Warren said. “He was born and raised right here in Rochester. I do not believe there is another person more dedicated to change the culture of policing than La’Ron.”
When asked if she would consider resigning, the mayor said no and added that now is a time for leadership.
“For everything that we have seen this year it is clear to me that there is more work to be done and I am committed to doing what’s necessary and I know that the chief is committed to doing what’s necessary to better serve our citizens and our community,” she said.
In an attempt to limit violence at the protests, the mayor said that Rev. Myra Brown of Spiritus Christi Church would lead a coalition of elders to serve as a buffer between protesters and police during demonstrations.
“Mr. Prude’s death re-triggered pain, trauma in this community and its important when a community is grieving to be given the space to grieve, to be angry,” Rev. Brown said.
During Sunday’s press conference, the mayor proposed some short term police reform measures to better address mental health issues in the community.
“We will take our family crisis intervention team out of the police department,” Mayor Warren said. “We will fully engage with the RASE commission and a real, rapid response team to further improve our response to mental heath crisis and reimagine our police department.”
“I understand that there are certain calls that law enforcement shouldn’t handle alone,” Chief Singletary said.
The mayor said that the police need to protect the Public Safety Building, citing information that “outside agitators” would attempt to destroy it.
“There is credible information that outside agitators want to destroy the Public Safety Building, Mayor Warren said.
“We do have intelligence that we’ve been receiving that there have been outside agitators that have come to Rochester, as you know we monitor social media,” Chief Singletary said. “So we do have credible information that one of the areas they want to target, a symbolic feature. We have arrested people who provided address from Alaska, Massachusetts and other parts of the country.”
The mayor reiterated her sentiments from Thursday that she didn’t know anything about the Prude Case from March 30 until August 4.
“I was not aware of that autopsy in April, the chief called me at 7 in the morning [on March 23] and he told me what he knew at the time,” Mayor Warren said. “And he did whatever he needed to do at that point forward. It wasn’t until August 4 that I was aware of the video and say the video and that was by corporation council.
Mayor Warren, Chief Singletary Sunday press conference
Later Sunday, a fifth consecutive night of protests ensued in Rochester, but unlike the days prior, it was a peaceful demonstration outside the Public Safety Building.
Police reported zero arrests were made, and no injuries reported.
Officials say more than 1,000 people took to the streets to demand justice for Prude Sunday. As planned earlier in the day, Rev. Brown led a coalition of elders to serve as a buffer between protesters and police during demonstrations, after calls by activists that Rochester police have used excessive force with pepper balls, and tear gas — roughly 50 of those elders answered the call.
“As we come together, we’re going to pray they’re going to seek God and they’re going to find and resolve for at least our community not just what we’re standing against, but resolve for us. What’s going to bring peace,” said Senior Pastor at Rock Hope Fellowship Church Jerrard Brown.
Rep. Joe Morelle was one of the individuals to serve as a “buffer” Sunday, along with Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott.
The elders stood behind the barricades at the Public Safety Building as they awaited the protesters to arrive from Jefferson Avenue — praying and singing songs. Some elders prayed non-stop throughout the event as local Black Lives Matter leaders spoke for hours wanting justice for Prude and transparency from elected officials.
“We’re hoping that as clergy, we can stand as a spiritual barrier between protesters and police. We’re hoping that we’re able to demonstrate in a way that gets the point across and things have to change and hoping for transformation in our city,” Pastor of Greater Harvest Church Rev. Sebrone Johnson said.
Upon completion of the peaceful protest, some demonstrators took time to pick up water bottles and other litter left in the area.
September 7, 2020
Monday brought Labor Day, and despite a rainy, cooler morning in Rochester, demonstrators were once again outside the Public Safety Building — and this time the imagery was striking.
Donning spit hoods, naked in the street with hands behind their backs Rochester protesters demonstrated in solidarity with Daniel Prude, and demanded state action for justice.
City Councilmember Mary Lupien (D-East) described why the demonstrators did what they did Monday morning.
“It was cold. He was handcuffed on the ground, no blanket,” Lupien said. “It can too quickly be sensationalized and really compartmentalized, but I think it’s really impactful to just imagine as a human being this happening to you and your loved one.
“When police show a militaristic response, they send the message that the community is the enemy and we are not — we are in this together, to protect our community from any harm,” Lupien said.
The demonstrators sat outside the Public Safety Building, in the middle of the street, with their hands behind their backs for about an hour.
Organizers say they have a list of demands that includes:
- Statewide passage of Daniel’s Law
- Statewide passage of Cariol’s Law
- Statewide ban on police use of force against peaceful protesters
Later Monday morning, President Donald Trump weighed in on the situation in Rochester:
Local and state officials were quick to respond to the president’s tweet, pointing out that last night’s peaceful protest was hardly a “bad night.”
Mayor Lovely Warren released a statement Monday in response to the president’s tweet:
“Last night the world saw the true spirit of Rochester. Over 1,000 people came together in solidarity to remember the life of Daniel Prude and call for the change that is needed to overcome structural and institutional racism. I am grateful to Pastor Myra Brown, our community elders, and the leaders of the local Black Lives Matter movement for helping ensure calm while making their message heard.
I am also glad that our Rochester Police Department and Chief Singletary followed my edict to adopt a smaller and more restrained posture. It is clear to me that their actions were crucial to the peace we saw last night.
Lastly, I ask that all involved ignore the commentary from the President. It is clear is his only desire is to bait people to act with hate and incite violence that he believes will benefit him politically. We will not give him what he wants. We will continue to act with grace and do the work necessary improve Rochester and our entire community.”
Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo also responded on Twitter Monday:
For the sixth consecutive night, a protest began — this time at 7:30 p.m. in Rochester’s MLK Park in downtown Rochester. Not long after, hundreds of demonstrators began marching through the streets of the city shortly after 8 p.m. They reached the steps of City Hall around 8:30 p.m. where organizers again listed their demands, and read a prepared resignation letter on behalf of Mayor Warren.
From there, protesters march to the Public Safety Building, reaching their destination at 9 p.m. Things remained peaceful for most of the protest. Police say some of the approximately 600 demonstrators tried to “defeat the barricades” around 10:20 p.m. That’s when police declared the assembly unlawful and ordered protesters to leave the area.
In previous nights, the declaration of an unlawful assembly by police has lead to confrontations, but Monday night remained mostly peaceful. Police say a few members of the crowd threw bottles at officers, which prompted a larger police presence, but when the demonstrators dispersed at 1 a.m. there were no arrests or injuries reported.
The sixth straight night of protests in Rochester ended peacefully for the second consecutive night.
September 8, 2020
At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Rochester City Council is scheduled to host a live briefing with Mayor Warren and Chief Singletary. Councilmembers say this will be the first or a regular series of briefings with the mayor and police chief and it was called for due to a “heightened state in our community.”
Prior to that briefing, Gov. Cuomo held one of his own from New York City Tuesday where he commented on the Daniel Prude investigation.
“I think one of the questions we have to find out is how was this first handled by the police department to suggest that it was basically a health issue and was not a death caused by the actions of police officers — which is by the way going to be an ongoing discussion,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Police are going to say what they said; ‘It wasn’t us. He was under the influence of drugs, he had on the spit hood which is normal procedure and it wasn’t because of police action.’ The video brought new light to the case.”
When asked why the investigation didn’t become public until months after Prude’s death, the governor deferred.
“You’d have to ask her, my guess is she did not have that video,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The state attorney general has investigation authority, I don’t direct her to investigate, she has legal authority by the executive order.”
However, as pointed out earlier in this timeline, the New York State Attorney General’s office was in possession of the aforementioned police worn body camera footage as early as June 12, 2020 when they watched it with attorney Don Thompson.
MORE | Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, entire command staff retires in wake of Daniel Prude death
A bombshell came Tuesday, moments before the City Council briefing with the mayor and police chief was scheduled to begin, when Chief Singletary, along with the entire command staff for the Rochester Police Department, announced retirements. A statement from Singletary said in part:
“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for.
The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not based on facts, and is not what I stand for.“
Mayor Warren informed City Council of the chief’s retirement, and added that some members of the department’s command staff would be retiring as well, Deptuty Chief Morabito, and Commander Fabian Rivera. Rochester police officials say both Deputy Chief Mark Simmons and Commander Henry Favor are returning to the previously held rank of lieutenant.
Free the People ROC, a local Black Lives Matter group, celebrated the news Tuesday, posting on Facebook:
“We accept Police Chief La’Ron Singletary’s resignation and the resignations of the entire RPD Command Team. Our movement for justice is winning, and it’s because of this incredible community, showing up night after night.
Let’s keep the pressure up until all those responsible for Daniel Prude’s murder and cover up—including Mayor Lovely Warren—have resigned, taken responsibility, and donated their pensions to the families they allowed to be harmed. Together we have the ability to hold those in power accountable and bring an end to systemic police violence in our community.”
“I want to ensure our Rochester community that the Rochester police department will continue to serve and protect our residents and neighborhoods,” Mayor Warren said. “Chief Singletary will remain in charge of the department through the end of the month. We have spoke about maintaining restraint through the ongoing protests we as all involved to remain peaceful.
“I can assure this community I am committed to institutional reforms necessary in our police department. I know that there are many questions, but this just occurred and honestly I do not have all the answers today”
Mayor Warren announces Chief Singletary’s retirement
The Rochester police union issued a statement regarding the RPD retirements, blaming the mayor’s office for the events that have occurred Tuesday:
“The events that have unfolded today have taken us completely by surprise, as they have everyone else. What is clear is that the problems of leadership go directly to the Mayor’s office.
Also Monday, members of Daniel Prude’s family filed a lawsuit against the City of Rochester, and several members of the Rochester Police Department. The 82-page lawsuit alleges an internal cover-up from the RPD, and demands a jury trial. The lawsuit also says:
- RPD’s Major Crimes Unit continued to investigate the incident and on April 27, 2020, issued its report and concluded that the officers involved did not commit a crime. This was after the medical examiner’s report ruled the cause of death a homicide, and this meant that the officers faced no disciplinary action until after the video of the body camera footage was made public by his family over five months after the incident.
- Three of the officers suspended for Prude’s death have refused to sit for an interview with the Attorney General’s office for the investigation.
Activists have another rally lined up for Tuesday on Jefferson Avenue, for the seventh straight since news of Prude’s death became public. There, protesters painted “Black Lives Matter” on the street. After that, they marched to the Public Safety Building and painted “Murderers” on the road in red paint.
MORE | ‘BLM’, ‘Murderers’ painted on Rochester streets during 7th straight night of Daniel Prude protests
Then the demonstration marched to City Hall for more speeches and words from organizers and activists. There, the word “Resign” was painted on the street in red paint. Shortly after midnight, less than 50 protesters remained on scene, according to police.
Police reported one arrest, one injury to an officer, and made no mention of any injuries to protesters during Tuesday night’s demonstration.
September 9, 2020
Former Rochester Mayor, and co-chair of the newly-formed commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE) held a press conference at the Frederick Douglass statue on South Avenue Wednesday to offer the commission’s insight on the Prude death investigation.
The former mayor expressed frustration with the current mayor for keeping the RASE commission in the dark about Daniel Prude’s death.
“I believe that she had a responsibility, after all think about the context — we’re supposed to be studying this in the context of George Floyd. We have our own George Floyd situation right here that no one knew anything about,” Johnson Jr. said.
The former mayor called for a cease-fire between police and protesters and said now is a time to come together and discuss solutions going forward. Johnson Jr. also said that he acknowledges the flawed decisions of the Mayor’s office in handling Prude’s death, but said he believed Mayor Warren could lead the community through these difficult times.
“We are a nation of second chances,” he said. “I think there has to be an honest acknowledgement that flawed decisions were made. I can’t say why or how. This situation has led to a tremendous loss of faith and you have to work to rebuild it.”
At Wednesday’s press conference Kennedy also expressed his disappointment in Chief Singletary’s retirement and said he would miss working with him along with the other outgoing command staff members.
“When you demonize and attack police, there is no incentive left for good and decent people to pursue careers as police officers,” Kennedy said. “We will miss Singletary and the command staff.”
Also Wednesday, Mayor Warren joined Rochester City Council in a virtual briefing to answer questions related to the violent protests from the weekend prior. The mayor apologized to City Council for not informing them of Daniel Prude’s death.
Among the many questions asked, Councilman Mitch Gruber asked the Mayor what prompted police to use pepper balls and tear gas on protesters, to which the mayor responded: “That would be a question for RPD.”
What would be the line in the sand for pepper guns or tear gas to be deployed again?”
Mayor: “That would be a question for RPD.”
“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. In a statement, she said:
“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.”
Not long after they traded calls fore resignations, City of Rochester officials released a pair of emails that they say shows Mazzeo received the Daniel Prude video back on April 2.
In a press conference Friday, Mazzeo said he first saw the video when it became public last Wednesday.
The city provided a pair of emails as evidence:
For the eighth night in a row, demonstrators gathered in Rochester Wednesday to demand justice for Daniel Prude.
The protest began around 7:30 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Square Park downtown. From there, about 200 people marched to the Public Safety Building, where they stayed until about 10 p.m. A group of approximately 125 people left the PSB and marched back to MLK Park and dispersed shortly after midnight.
Rochester police reported no arrests or injuries during Wednesday’s protests.
September 10, 2020
Responding to City Hall’s release of emails that indicated Rochester Police Union President Mike Mazzeo had been sent the Daniel Prude video in April, Mazzeo said he didn’t see it until it was made public on September 2. In a statement released Thursday, the police union president had some sharp words for the Mayor Lovely Warren — less than 24 hours removed from publicly calling for her resignation.
Full statement from police union president Mike Mazzeo
“When requesting Body Worn Camera (BWC) videos after an incident, I am copied in those and all similar requests for information. This is done to acknowledge the designee requesting the videos or information is authorized to make the request on behalf of our organization. Our requests are sent to the BWC unit which follows their internal processes for releasing the videos to the union, per protocol.
If an internal investigation commences, a review of the videos will then be started in the course of our representative responsibilities for our members. The union had no information that there was any need for an internal investigation or that there were any concerns with the actions of our members. As I have stated before, we have no information relative to when, how, nor what, the Mayor was advised from the department regarding the Prude incident. The union is not a part of discussions between the Chief of Police and the Mayor.
For City Hall to suggest that the union is a part of some type of cover-up, with her own appointed Chief of Police, is absurd. The decision for the entire command staff of the RPD to relinquish their command on the actions and statements of the Mayor should be a concern of the leadership and the stability of Mayor Warren.
In order of complete transparency, I did not review the videos of the Prude incident on April 2, 2020 as no internal investigation had commenced. In fact, the first time I saw any video related to Mr. Prude was after the press conference which aired on September 2, 2020.”
Thursday afternoon, Rochester City Council held a virtual briefing with Mayor Warren, Police Chief Singletary, and members of the RPD command staff about the police response during protests.
During the briefing Mayor Warren said she has asked state officials to ask New York State Police to not bring dogs to the protests, describing their presence as “triggering.” Councilmembers also asked about officers putting tape over their names and badge numbers at the protest and Deputy Chief Morabito said it was to protect the officers, adding that protesters were looking up their information online and threatening officers’ families.
Councilmembers also pressed police on what made an assembly unlawful, to which the police chief said “When protesters start throwing things at officers.
City Council briefing with Mayor Warren, RPD
A little more than a week after news of his brother’s death became public, Joe Prude opened up in an exclusive interview with News 8 Thursday.
In the wide-ranging interview, Joe spoke about what he misses most about his brother, the response in Rochester, the shake-up in RPD leadership, thoughts about the mayor, the police union chief, the protests, and a lot more.
For the ninth straight night, demonstrators gathered to demand justice for Daniel Prude in Rochester Thursday, but it was not like protests held in the nights prior.
Instead, it was a celebration of life for Daniel Prude, whose family arrived in Rochester Thursday from all over the country. The event featured live music from Danielle Ponder with a full band, speeches, and calls for justice.
The event carried a celebratory tone throughout and ended peacefully.
September 11, 2020
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello was joined by various community leaders Friday to announce an increase in investments for the Forensic Intervention Team (FIT) and Monroe County’s substance abuse response in the aftermath of Daniel Prude’s death.
“If you have a fire and you call 911, you get a firefighter, if there’s a medical emergency, you have a heart attack, you get an EMT — anything else you get a law enforcement officer,” Bello said. “Daniel Prude’s death shows this doesn’t work.
Bello announced the county would match the city’s investment in the FIT program to the tune of $360,000. The extra resources will help the FIT program become fully operation 24/7.
FIT is a program that partners clinicians with Monroe County’s law enforcement agencies to assist individuals with mental health needs and who have frequent contact with law enforcement.
Federal officials announced Friday that 32-year-old Kyle Bradley Davis was arrested and charged with civil disorder for his alleged role in during the protest on Tuesday, September 8 when approximately 400 people gathered outside the Public Safety Building.
According to federal officials, “surveillance cameras captured the defendant pointing green lasers at three uniformed RPD officers and four uniformed New York State Police Troopers, who were positioned in the area to control the crowd and prevent a breach of the barricades. The victim officers experienced a temporary loss of sight as a result of being hit with the laser, which impeded and interfered with their ability to carry out their assigned duties.
Friday evening, protesters again convened at MLK Park in Rochester to demand justice for Daniel Prude — the tenth night in a row of demonstrations.
After speeches, and songs the group marched to the Public Safety Building, arriving just before 10 p.m. where they remained until around 11:40 p.m.
It was another night of peaceful protests with no arrests or injuries reported.
September 12, 2020
Saturday evening demonstrators convened once again — for the 11th night in a row — on Jefferson Avenue at 7:30 p.m. From there protesters took a new route through the city, marching northwest before ultimately meeting a line of police at the corner of Wilder and Child Street around 9:30 p.m.
Police say at 11 p.m. protesters tried to push past the blockade. At that time an altercation occurred. Police say protesters threw bottles, rocks and eggs at officers. Protesters say police shot tear gas at frontline demonstrators and further back into the crowd. Protesters say police also started arrested frontline demonstrators at this time.
Ultimately, the crowd began to disperse around 1:40 a.m. and Rochester police reported three arrests were made at Saturday’s protest.
September 13, 2020
On the 12th straight night of protests in Rochester for Daniel Prude, demonstrators gathered at MLK Park around 7:30 p.m.
From there, the group marched to the building that houses the office of Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley.
There, protesters painted “RESIGN” in red paint in the street.
Doorley’s office responded releasing a statement saying she has no intention of resigning.
“Last year, I was re-elected by the people of Monroe County to serve as the District Attorney. Upon signing the Oath of Office, I made a pledge and a commitment to the people of this community that I will serve as the District Attorney to promote justice and public safety. I have no intention of resigning and will continue to serve the residents of Monroe County.”
Protesters then went back to MLK Park before dispersing around 11 p.m. with no arrests or injuries reported.
September 14, 2020
Rochester City Councilmember Mary Lupien (D, East District) and Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart (D, 21) announced Monday that they are asking the Department of Justice for a civil rights investigation into how law enforcement has responded to protests over Daniel Prude. They have sent a letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Dreiband, who leads the Civil Rights Division.
“We’re calling into an investigation into this response. There have been tanks, dogs, pepper balls, pepper spray, tear gas and really a disproportionate response to peaceful protests,” Lupien said. “Our people are not the enemy and we are not at war.”
“We saw the other night on September 12,” Barhnart said. “We pulled video of law enforcement officers in an armored vehicle pointing a weapon at citizens. We’re seeing video of officers throwing tear gar at reporters. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what’s going on here. Who is policing the police? Who is calling these orders? We have absolutely no idea and we’re elected officials.”
Later Monday, Mayor Lovely Warren released a 323-page preliminary report regarding the death of Daniel Prude. While that document has been made public, City Council says it will conduct its own independent review of the matter.
The Mayor also announced that Monday was Police Chief La’Ron Singletary’s last day in the position. He announced his retirement last week, and was supposed to hold the office until September 29 to ensure a smooth transition of power. Deputy Chief Mark Simmons was later announced as interim chief of police for the next 30 days.
More shake-up at City Hall Monday as Mayor Warren also announced that the City of Rochester’s Communication Director Justin Roj, and the City’s Corporation Counsel, were suspended without pay for “failure to act, inform, and follow policy and procedures.”
That night, a group of 75-100 protesters gathered on Jefferson Avenue for the 13th consecutive night of demonstrations to demand justice for Daniel Prude in Rochester.
The group stayed there until dispersing around 10 p.m. with no injuries or arrests reported.
September 15, 2020
Protesters n Rochester got an early start Tuesday, beginning a demonstration outside the Public Safety Building around 8:30 a.m. in the 14th consecutive day of demanding justice for Daniel Prude.
From the PSB, protesters marched to City Hall, where they staged a sit-in at the steps of the entrance. Demonstrators said they would remain there until the officers involved in Prude’s death were fired.
There words rang true as they would remain on site until the following morning.
September 16, 2020
After blocking off City Hall for 24 hours, protesters were met Wednesday morning with police officers ordering them to disperse.
Over a loud speaker Wednesday morning, a Rochester Police Department said failure to leave the area will result in arrests. RPD officers have since surrounded the back of City Hall and blocked off State Street. From there police backed protesters down the street.
Ultimately, Rochester police reported 16 people were arrested as a result of the protests. Free the People ROC disputed the police claims, saying more than 20 were arrested.
Rev. Lewis Stewart announced Wednesday that Rev. Jesse Jackson will soon be visiting Rochester. Rev. Stewart also once again called for the firing of the officers involved in Prude’s death.
Later Wednesday, Mayor Warren sat down with News 8 Anchor Adam Chodak. In the wide-ranging 30-minute interview, the mayor said there was “clear deception” in regards to the police department’s handling of Daniel Prude’s death. She also spoke about what she knew, when she knew it, accountability, how the city moves forward and more.
Full interview with Mayor Lovely Warren
Wednesday night, protesters once again gathered at the steps of City hall where some slept overnight on sidewalks for the second consecutive night. By remaining on site into the morning, Thursday marked 17 straight days of protests in Rochester demanding justice for Daniel Prude.
September 17, 2020
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley sat down with News 8 to offer her insight to the Prude death investigation timeline, and to say she would not be resigning, as demanded by protesters in the city.
For the 18th straight day, protesters demonstrated in Rochester. They camped outside City Hall again. Ultimately no arrests or injuries were reported.
September 18, 2020
Rochester City Council unanimously approved legislation to expedite their independent review into the city’s handling of Daniel Prude’s death. With the passing of this legislation, City Hall, the RPD, the city’s legal department and even Council itself would all be subpoenaed.
MORE | Rochester City Council, City Hall, and RPD to be subpoenaed soon in Daniel Prude death investigation
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to add to this timeline with events related to the Daniel Prude death investigation.
- Joe Prude opens up about brother: ‘There will never be another Daniel’
- Rochester City Council questions Mayor Warren, Police Chief Singletary, RPD staff on protest response
- Rochester police union president Mike Mazzeo denies seeing Daniel Prude video in April
- Rep. Morelle: Mayor Warren, other leaders should ask themselves if they can still be a positive force
- Free the People ROC hosts town hall on policing and public health
- 8th straight night of Daniel Prude protests in Rochester concludes peacefully
- City Council president says Mayor Warren told her on August 20 that Prude’s death was an overdose
- City of Rochester officials say police union president received Daniel Prude video in April
- Rochester police union president, Mayor Lovely Warren call on each other to resign
- Two men facing federal charges in connection to Saturday’s Daniel Prude protest in Rochester
- RASE Commission Co-Chair calls for a cease-fire between police, protesters in Rochester
- Adam Bello: The county spends $40 million on mental health, ‘clearly it’s not working’
- ‘BLM’, ‘Murderers’ painted on Rochester streets during 7th straight night of Daniel Prude protests
- Rochester police union on RPD shake-up: ‘Problems of leadership go directly to the mayor’s office’
- Daniel Prude’s family files lawsuit against City of Rochester, demands a jury trial
- Mayor Lovely Warren on future of Rochester Police Department: ‘I do not have all the answers today’
- Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, more RPD command staff retires in wake of Daniel Prude death
- Naked with spit hoods: Rochester protesters demonstrate in solidarity with Daniel Prude
- Monday’s Daniel Prude protest in Rochester ends peacefully after police declare unlawful assembly
- Kenneth Morris Jr. calls for change in wake of Daniel Prude’s death
- President Trump says Rochester is ‘weakly run by radical left’ after a night of peaceful protests
- With prayer and songs, local activists and elders call for change and transparency for Daniel Prude
- Community Justice Initiative addresses Rochester police militarization tactics
- Councilmember Malik Evans calls for independent investigation into Prude’s death
- Mayor Warren, Chief Singletary address violent protests in wake of Daniel Prude’s death in Rochester
- Save Rochester BLM apologizes to Rev. Stewart, said goal is to continue protests and marches
- Police use of spit hoods scrutinized after Daniel Prude’s death in Rochester
- City Hall windows cracked, 9 arrested, alleged excessive force by RPD at Daniel Prude protest in Rochester
- Depew Police say Daniel Prude was asked to leave Amtrak train on March 22, day before police encounter
- Rochester police union: Chief’s office said ‘no concern of actions’ by officers at Daniel Prude scene
- Community Justice Initiative: ‘Saturday night was a war zone, RPD did not let up at all’
- Mental health experts: Prude needed help, not police
- 8 arrested, 2 officers injured, pepper spray deployed during Daniel Prude protest in Rochester
- Mayor Lovely Warren: RPD Chief told me Daniel Prude died from an apparent drug overdose
- Daniel Prude’s brother: ‘He didn’t have history of mental health issues’
- Gov. Cuomo on Daniel Prude death: ‘What I saw was deeply disturbing and I demand answers’
- 7 Rochester police officers involved in Daniel Prude death suspended with pay
- Daniel Prude, Black man killed by Rochester police, remembered as loving
- Rochester civil rights groups demand firing, prosecution of officers involved in Daniel Prude’s death
- Protests in Rochester after bodycam video surfaces in death of Daniel Prude
- Daniel Prude’s family demands justice for ‘cold-blooded murder’
- Protest in Rochester sparks after news of Daniel Prude’s death
- Autopsy report: Daniel Prude death ruled a homicide, died from asphyxia due to ‘physical restraint’
- 9 arrested in Rochester during protest at Public Safety Building over Daniel Prude’s death
- WATCH: Footage of encounter between Daniel Prude and Rochester police officers before his death
- Daniel Prude’s death, police encounter caught on body camera sparks NY AG investigation, protests in Rochester