ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — At a special meeting Friday morning, Rochester City Council approved legislation to further authorize an investigation into the handling of Daniel Prude’s death after his encounter with the Rochester Police Department back in March.
“Holding this special meeting of the Council prior to the regularly scheduled Council meeting in October is essential as it will allow for [attorney] Andrew G. Celli Jr. and his team to expedite their investigation, and be responsive to our community, who has been vocal in their calls related to the death of Mr. Prude,” City Council President Loretta Scott said in a letter to Council.
The legislation was approved unanimously. It will expedite City Council’s independent investigation, and grant authority to “investigate all City departments including the right to review records and papers” plus issue subpoenas. Celli Jr. and his team will lead the independent investigation.
MORE | Mayor Warren on RPD’s handling of Daniel Prude death: ‘Clear deception,’ done purposefully
In a briefing with media following the special meeting, Celli Jr. said City Council, the Rochester Police Department, and City Hall could be subpoenaed as soon as Friday, or Monday. Celli Jr. said updates would be provided to the public regularly as the investigation progresses. He said the investigation could take up to three months.
Celli Jr. said the focus of the investigation is to find out if there was indeed a cover up, as the Prude family has alleged in a federal civil lawsuit against the City of Rochester.
Celli Jr. said the mayor’s office’s preliminary report on the matter didn’t paint a full picture of what transpired, and he said testimony is necessary in addition to documents. He said he expects the mayor’s office to cooperate.
MORE | Breaking down City of Rochester’s 323-page report into Daniel Prude death investigation
Just days after the body camera footage of Prude’s death came to light, Councilmember Malik Evans called for an independent investigation into the death of Daniel Prude.
“As City Council Finance Chair, I will be asking my City Council colleagues to appropriate necessary funds to engage outside legal counsel for the purposes of conducting an independent and thorough investigation into this matter,” Evans said in a statement.
On Monday, Mayor Lovely Warren announced a “comprehensive” review of the Prude death in March, and the ensuing investigations that have been underway since. With that, she released a 323-page report of the investigation, that included emails, police reports, and more.
MORE | Daniel Prude timeline: From March encounter with police to current 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.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.
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