Daniel Prude death investigation: New York State Attorney General releases new video footage

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James released additional video footage pertaining to her office’s investigation into the death of Daniel Prude.

The videos, released Friday afternoon, consist of more dashboard camera footage and police worn body camera footage of the incident in which Prude encountered police officers before his death in March.

MORE | WATCH: Footage of encounter between Daniel Prude and Rochester police officers before his death

The footage includes body-camera footage from Rochester police officers Mark Vaughn, Francisco Santiago, Troy Taladay, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Michael Magri — who were among seven officers suspended with pay in connection to the incident.

“Our criminal justice system is in need of significant reform to rebuild the trust between police and the communities they serve,” said Attorney General James in a press release. “Key to that reform is increased transparency, which is why I am proactively releasing video footage from our active investigations into police-involved killings. All of our communities deserve transparency, accountability, and justice, and I believe this is a critical step in moving us forward.”

MORE | Use of force: Did Rochester officers follow protocol the night they encountered Daniel Prude?

The release of these videos follows Attorney General James’ directive that police body-worn and dashboard camera footage obtained by her office in the course of a SIPU investigation be released to the public in order to “increase transparency and strengthen public trust in these matters” — a new policy the attorney general announced while she was in Rochester earlier this year.

To see the new video footage released by the attorney general’s office, visit this website.

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 on September 2.

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 the encounter with police, which could explain his erratic behavior.

A federal civil lawsuit filed from the Prude family against the City of Rochester alleges there was an internal cover-up. Aside from former Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, who was fired by Mayor Lovely Warren, several other high-ranking members within the RPD’s command staff have also announced retirements.

MORE | Daniel Prude timeline: From March encounter with police through protests in Rochester

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.

Protests have been ongoing in Rochester since the news broke September 2.

NY AG camera footage release policy

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 147, the New York State Attorney General serves as special prosecutor in incidents where a law enforcement officer causes the death of an unarmed civilian, or where there is a significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and dangerous. These cases are handled by the Attorney General’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit (SIPU). SIPU investigates and, if warranted, prosecutes these cases. In cases where there is no indictment or SIPU does not present the case to a grand jury, SIPU issues a comprehensive, detailed report about the incident and the investigation, and makes substantive policy recommendations.

While SIPU’s primary objective is to fairly and thoroughly investigate these incidents, it also seeks to provide transparency to the public and to strengthen the public’s trust in these matters.  As detailed below, to further increase transparency, Attorney General James issued a directive that body-worn camera and dashboard camera footage obtained in the course of a SIPU investigation into a matter over which SIPU has jurisdiction will be released to the public.

  • SIPU will release body-worn camera and dashboard camera footage obtained during an investigation over which we have jurisdiction in a timely manner, when permissible by law. SIPU will not wait until the completion of an investigation to release the footage.
  • The footage may be redacted or withheld, as appropriate, to, among other things:
    • Ensure privacy (interiors of residences or other private spaces; location of domestic violence programs or shelters; intimate images; images of an individual receiving medical attention; images of documents containing personal identifying information);
    • Comply with federal, state, or local laws;
    • Protect confidential sources or witnesses;
    • Protect a person’s right to a fair trial;
    • Protect the identities of victims of sex crimes and domestic violence;
    • Protect the privacy, life or safety of any person;
    • Avoid undue trauma due to explicit or graphic content; and
    • Protect the identities of minors.
  • Prior to releasing any camera footage, SIPU will give at least 24 hours’ notice, when possible, to the following parties:
    • A known family member or next of kin of the deceased;
    • Legal counsel for the family or next of kin;
    • The police department that is involved in the incident; and/or
    • Any other known entities investigating the incident.

The release of this footage is not an expression of any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of any party in a criminal matter or any opinion as to how or whether any individual may be charged with a crime.

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

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