Rochester City Council asks for officers involved in Daniel Prude death to be placed on leave

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In this image taken from police body camera video provided by Roth and Roth LLP, a Rochester police officer puts a hood over the head of Daniel Prude, on March 23, 2020, in Rochester, N.Y. Video of Prude, a Black man who had run naked through the streets of the western New York city, died of asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records released Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, by his family. Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester. (Rochester Police via Roth and Roth LLP via AP)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In a letter to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, City Council has formally requested that the officers involved in the encounter with Daniel Prude be placed on administrative leave “effective immediately, and until the completion of the criminal investigation.”

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, 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

That 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.

City Council’s letter to Mayor Warren went on to say:

“Yesterday was an emotionally charged day, and we feel strongly that the charges filed against the protestors following yesterday’s press conference at the Public Safety Building should be dropped. Our citizens are exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest, and we ask that the Administration and our law enforcement do everything in your power to meet these protests with respect and to de-escalate tension. We do not need any militaristic outfitting and use of pepper balls at this incredibly sensitive time for our community. Peaceful protesting is a critical part of our community grieving process.

MORE | Rochester civil rights groups demand firing, prosecution of officers involved in Daniel Prude’s death

Further, we must invest in mental health services that is why we are asking that you confirm your support of using funds from the $750,000 in Contingency set aside during the Budget process to better fund Monroe County’s Forensic Intervention Team (FIT). FIT partners with clinicians from the County’s Office of Mental Health to assist individuals struggling with mental health needs and to decrease the utilization of emergency and crisis response services in situations involving mental health. Mr. Prude deserved to be connected with the proper mental health resources, and our systems failed him at every turn. We owe it to Mr. Prude and his family to make changes to our system, and to ensure that no other life is needlessly lost.”

In a separate letter, Rochester City Council asked New York State Attorney General Letitia James to come to Rochester to address the community, and to provide insight into how her office is handling the investigation.

MORE | Autopsy report: Daniel Prude death ruled a homicide, died from asphyxia due to ‘physical restraint’

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