Prude Death Investigation

4 Protesters arrested outside of Rochester police union after Daniel Prude press conference

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Four protesters were arrested outside the Rochester Police Locust Club on Thursday following a press conference from the attorneys of the seven officers suspended over the death of Daniel Prude.

A release from the Rochester Police Department stated that the four were given an appearance ticket and charged with trespassing. A video shows a 14-year-old girl also being taken into custody, along with a few others, including the 14-year-old girl’s father, protesters said.

Many gathered to shared their remarks after the incident.

“What I heard at this press conference today really shows an absolute disdain for the black lives and ultimately that carried out to the parking lot and led to an arrest and bully members of the community. there were way too many officers that were called and responded and I really don’t understand that,” one protester said.

The protest followed a press conference at the Rochester police union headquarters where attorneys representing suspended officers involved in Daniel Prude’s death defended their clients’ actions during the encounter.

The seven officers involved in the incident back in March were suspended just days after details of Prude’s death became public. All seven, officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sgt. Michael Magri, were suspended with pay.

MORE | Attorneys for suspended Rochester officers defend use of force on Daniel Prude

“These officers are being mistreated unfairly,” said attorney Michael Schiano, who is representing Santiago. “Their lives have been threatened, there are bounties placed on their heads.”

Attorneys say their clients followed proper training procedures and protocol. They said they would release videos and documents from law enforcement that supports that claim.

“I think it shows how deeply grounded policing is within white supremacy.,” Free the People Roc organizer Stanley Martin said in response to the attorneys defending the actions of the officers.

“To justify in any capacity is racist and it shows the police department cannot be reformed they need to be dismantled and public safety needs to be grounded in caring people and protecting people.”

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

Attorneys say the officers followed protocol, and that justice for Daniel Prude would mean changing the training and policies put forth by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice. They say the protocol officers followed was put forth by the DCJS in 2017 and has been rolled out statewide.

Protests have been ongoing in and around Rochester since September 2, when details of Prude’s death first became public.

Free the People ROC, one of the local groups organizing protests and events, has released a list of demands that it will continue to fight for:

  1. Fire and prosecute Mark Vaughn, Troy Talladay, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, Paul Ricotta, and Sgt. Michael Magri and revoke their pensions.
  2. Drop the criminal charges against all protestors arrested since May 30th.
  3. Daniel’s Law – Pass legislation prohibiting police from responding to mental health calls. The state must ensure an emergency response system that puts trained mental health providers in the lead to respond and direct care in a mental health crisis not police.
  4. We demand the immediate resignation of Lovely Warren, Deputy Mayor James Smith, Mike Mazzeo, and Sandra Doorley.
  5. Defund and demilitarize RPD

“Lovely Warren’s decision to appoint a new interim Police Chief and Command Staff doesn’t address the deep structural issues in policing. Nothing short of a complete transformation will address the problems we see every day.  Our demands are clear and Lovely Warren has done exactly nothing to meet the demands of the people.

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 said 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.

Less than one-week Prude’s death became public, Police Chief Singletary announced his retirement — along with several other members of RPD’s command staff.

The following week, Mayor Lovely Warren fired Singletary before his effective retirement date and named Mark Simmons the interim Chief of Police. Simmons has since been replaced by Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan.

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

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