Occupy City Hall demonstration ends in Rochester after Mayor Warren, RPD subpoenaed in Daniel Prude case

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After a week of protests occupying Rochester City Hall, organizers Free The People ROC announced the group is ending the demonstration, which has taken place there since last Tuesday.

The Monday night post said:

As a result of the thousands of you who have marched, rallied, and occupied City Hall, we’re winning justice for Daniel Prude and his family. On Sunday, Attorney General Tish James announced a new policy to release body cam footage in police brutality cases directly to the public, and today Mayor Warren and RPD Chief Mark Simmons were subpoenaed as part of an investigation into Daniel’s murder.

Our organizers have decided to end Occupy City Hall and plan new actions in the coming weeks. We recognize that taking care of our collective health and wellbeing is a revolutionary act. Systems of oppression want to see us tired and beaten down, but we won’t give them that satisfaction.

We urge those of you who have been out with us every night to rest, reflect, and recharge for the next set of actions. Our movement is just beginning.

With love,
The FTP Family”

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

Since September 2, when Daniel Prude’s death became public, demonstrators have taken to the city streets to demand justice, and resignations from elected officials over the handling of Prude’s death.

Protests have ensued night and day in Rochester for nearly three weeks straight; happening at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Jefferson Avenue, City Hall, the Public Safety Building, and other downtown locations.

The officers involved in Prude’s arrest were suspended on September 3. At first, the protests alternated between MLK Park and Jefferson Avenue — where Prude encountered police back in March. Over the last two weeks, it became a place for grieving, healing and coming together as a community.  

Less than one week after details regarding Prude’s death became public, Chief La’Ron Singletary announced his retirement, along with several other members of the RPD command staff.

The site of the protests changed less than a week later when Mayor Warren officially fired Singletary and named Deputy Chief Mark Simmons Interim Chief. The following day, protesters took to City Hall and called for his resignation, citing his actions in a case from 2003 when a 13-year-old girl was shot as the reason

Protesters set up tents and stayed there every night until Monday night. Organizers released a statement on the Free The People ROC Facebook page, crediting those who marched, rallied and occupied city hall with bringing about real change. 

On Sunday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James came to Rochester and announced that the attorney general’s office will independently release body camera footage after the family of a victim has seen it, and no longer wait for local authorities to release the footage. The attorney general’s office has been investigating Prude’s death since April.

“Up until now the release has been up to the discretion of local authorities, but this process has caused confusion, delays and has hampered transparency in a system that should be as open as possible,” James said. “Starting immediately, the Office of Attorney General will actively be releasing footage to the public on our own. We will no longer wait for local authorities to determine when videos should be made available to the public and we will be doing this with eye towards making the footage available to the public as quickly as possible, publicizing the footage as soon as we have shown it to the deceased family.”

On Monday, Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott signed off on the request for subpoenas to be sent in regards to the independent investigation into Daniel Prude’s death. The subpoenas — issued to the entire office of Mayor Lovely Warren, the Rochester Police Department, the City of Rochester’s legal department, and City Council itself — were delivered to independent investigator Andrew Celli Jr. Monday.

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 his death, which could explain his erratic behavior.

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

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.

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

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