Daniel’s Day: Celebration of life for Prude 1 year after police encounter with Rochester police

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Tuesday marks exactly one year since Daniel Prude’s encounter with the Rochester Police Department, which ultimately led to his death a week later.

Activists are calling Tuesday “Daniel’s Day,” and are encouraging others in Rochester to call out of work, school, and demand justice for Prude.

“We join the Prude family in calling for a day of action and remembrance on the one year anniversary of Daniel Prude’s murder by the RPD. Call out of work, walk out of class, and join us in the streets to demand justice for Daniel Prude!” a Facebook post from the organizers Free the People ROC reads.

A celebration of life began at 5 p.m. at 72 Child Street in Rochester.

Earlier Tuesday, demonstrators gathered at Parcel 5 in downtown Rochester. From there they marched to the RTS station, and then down East Avenue — stopping traffic at prominent city intersections along the way.

The protest ultimately reached the East Avenue Wegmans, where demonstrators stayed for hours while the store closed for shopping.

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

Prude, a 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, died after an encounter with Rochester police in March, but news of the incident just came to light on Sept. 2, 2020. Police worn body camera footage of the incident showed officers restraining a handcuffed Prude, who was naked with a spit hood over his head, before he ultimately went unconscious.

The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Prude’s death a homicide. The report said 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 the encounter with police, which could explain his erratic behavior.

The Rochester police officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude will not face charges after a grand jury elected not to indict. The minutes of the grand jury testimony will be released with redactions after a judge approved the attorney general’s request to do so.

Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, who was fired by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren shortly after details of Prude’s death became public, testified in a nine-hour deposition in February. That was part of an independent investigation initiated by Rochester City Council to see if there was indeed a cover-up.

That investigation looked into City Hall, the Rochester Police Department and City Council itself. It concluded that key city officials knowingly suppressed information regarding Prude’s death from the public.

In an 84-page report into the City of Rochester’s handling of the Daniel Prude case, the special investigator hired by Rochester City Council said key city officials knowingly suppressed information.

The report said the ultimate decision to not disclose the death of Prude to the public was that of Mayor Warren. However he went on to say the responsibility for the delay wasn’t just hers.

Aside from Singletary, several other high-ranking members within the RPD’s command staff have also announced retirements, in a major leadership shake-up for the city’s police department.

Protests sparked following the news of Prude’s death in the city of Rochester throughout the month of September. Some demonstrations saw violent clashes between protesters and police.

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