Prude Death Investigation

Rochester police union president Mike Mazzeo denies seeing Daniel Prude video in April

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo responded Thursday to allegations that he received the body camera footage from the Daniel Prude incident back in April.

In a Friday press conference, Mazzeo said he first saw the footage when it surfaced publicly last week. After Mazzeo called for Mayor Lovely Warren’s resignation, City of Rochester officials released emails that showed Mazzeo received the video footage back on April 2.

MORE | Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester police union president call on each other to resign

The statement from Mazzeo Thursday says he did not see the video until September 2, saying in part:

“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.”

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.”

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, and now the case is being investigated by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

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

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.

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.

A federal civil lawsuit filed from the Prude family against the City of Rochester alleges there was an internal cover-up. Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, and other command staff within the department, have since announced their retirements.

Protests have been ongoing in Rochester since the news broke Wednesday. This page will serve to document those protests.

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

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