ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Update: Rochester City Councilman Mitch Gruber calls for subpoenas to find out what Mayor Lovely Warren knew in regards to the death of Daniel Prude that took place on March 23.
Original: Daniel Prude died after encounter with Rochester police in March, yet word of his death, and how it happened, only became public after his family and the attorneys representing them released body camera footage.
The question on the minds of many in Rochester is simply “what took so long?”
Officials from the Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s Office says they were asked by the New York State Attorney General’s Office to not release information regarding the death of Prude, but the Attorney General’s office says that didn’t happen, “plain and simple.
A statement from the Attorney General’s Office Friday said:
“There was never a request from the Attorney General’s Office to the city of Rochester Corporation Counsel to withhold information about the events surrounding the death of Daniel Prude, plain and simple. Once again, the city of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department are free to move forward with their own investigation.”
That statement followed one from Mayor Warren’s Office Thursday night that said:
“On June 4, Stephanie Prince, an attorney for the City’s Law Department spoke with Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Sommers who confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation. Ms. Sommers also stated that, while she cannot legally advise us what to do, she asks that the City withhold the release of information including the body-worn camera footage, as the release will interfere with the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation. The City complied with the Attorney General’s office request.”
Rochester City Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin and City Attorney Prince held a press conference Friday where they laid out their side of the story. These city officials allege that on June 4, Deputy Chief Jennifer Sommers from the Attorney General’s office asked Prince to withhold release of information in regards to the investigation.
The city provided a few emails between Prince and Sommers, but there was no mention of a request to withhold information on those emails. In the documents provided by the city, there is text above the emails that describes what they say happened.
The Prude family attorney, Elliot Shields said he requested the body camera video from the city on April 3. He said they ignored the request and he appealed. He said he was eventually told the city couldn’t give them the video until the AG’s investigation was over.
“In this instance instead of denying it they hid the video and they refused to give it to us for months. And when they finally gave it to us, all the excuses that they gave showed that was untrue, they could’ve handed it over immediately and they chose not to and that’s why there was a delay in letting the world know what happened to Daniel Prude,” said Shields.
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 Wednesday with the release of disturbing body camera footage, and now the case is being investigated by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
MORE | WATCH: Footage of encounter between Daniel Prude and Rochester police officers before his death
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 | Autopsy report: Daniel Prude death ruled a homicide, died from asphyxia due to ‘physical restraint’
Seven Rochester police officers have been suspended with pay in connection to the incident.
Protests have been ongoing in Rochester since the news broke Wednesday, resulting in some arrests, and some injuries to officers.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.
Full city attorneys press conference:
- Police use of spit hoods scrutinized after Daniel Prude’s death in Rochester
- GALLERY: Daniel Prude protest photos from Rochester
- Depew Police say Daniel Prude was asked to leave Amtrak train on March 22, day before police encounter
- Rochester police union: Chief’s office said ‘no concern of actions’ by officers at Daniel Prude scene
- Mental health experts: Prude needed help, not police
- 8 arrested, 2 officers injured, pepper spray deployed during Daniel Prude protest in Rochester
- Mayor Lovely Warren: RPD Chief told me Daniel Prude died from an apparent drug overdose
- Daniel Prude’s brother: ‘He didn’t have history of mental health issues’
- Gov. Cuomo on Daniel Prude death: ‘What I saw was deeply disturbing and I demand answers’
- 7 Rochester police officers involved in Daniel Prude death suspended with pay
- Daniel Prude, Black man killed by Rochester police, remembered as loving
- Rochester civil rights groups demand firing, prosecution of officers involved in Daniel Prude’s death
- Protests in Rochester after bodycam video surfaces in death of Daniel Prude
- Daniel Prude’s family demands justice for ‘cold-blooded murder’
- Protest in Rochester sparks after news of Daniel Prude’s death
- Autopsy report: Daniel Prude death ruled a homicide, died from asphyxia due to ‘physical restraint’
- 9 arrested in Rochester during protest at Public Safety Building over Daniel Prude’s death
- WATCH: Footage of encounter between Daniel Prude and Rochester police officers before his death
- Daniel Prude’s death, police encounter caught on body camera sparks NY AG investigation, protests in Rochester