Rochester police complete internal investigation into death of Daniel Prude

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Police Department confirmed Friday it has completed its internal investigation into the death of Daniel Prude.

The RPD has not yet shared any details about the outcome of that investigation, saying only that it is now being reviewed by Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan’s command staff.

Police were called on Prude in March of 2020, while he was having what New York Attorney General Letitia James would later call “a mental health crisis.” Body camera footage shows officers pinning him to the ground, naked in the cold, and putting a mesh spit mask over his head.

Prude lost consciousness, was hospitalized, and died 7 days later. He was 41 years old.

The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Prude’s death a homicide, listing his cause of death as “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed he had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death.

The circumstances of Prude’s death were not made public until September of 2020, six months after it happened. The body camera footage and the delay sparked protests in Rochester and beyond.`

Public disagreements between Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and then-Police Chief La’Ron Singletary highlighted the controversies brought up by the official handling of the case. That culminated in a nearly nine-hour deposition in which Singletary disputed the mayor’s claims regarding Prude’s death and the six-month delay between when it happened and when the public was notified.

A grand jury decided not to indict any of the police officers involved in Prude’s death back in February.

Activists celebrated his life on March 23, 2021 — 1 year after his encounter with police — on what they came to call “Daniel’s Day.”

They have since called for the passage of Daniel’s Law, which would establish pathways for mental health professionals to respond to mental health emergencies.

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