Free the People ROC says RPD used excessive force during Thursday’s Daniel Prude protests

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Free the People Roc, a local community group, held a press conference Friday afternoon outside the Public safety building, less than 24 hours after a protest broke in the same location over the death of Daniel Prude.

Activists Friday said that Rochester police used excessive force during the protests, in which there were arrests, injuries, and pepper spray deployed.

MORE | 8 arrested, 2 officers injured, pepper spray deployed during Daniel Prude protest in Rochester

Activists claim police used pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse protesters from outside the Public Safety Building, and they are questioning who called the orders for officers to follow. They say a man had a severe eye injury, and various other people were injured and hospitalized.

“We’re talking about what the police did and what they got paid to do was assault protesters last night,” said local Black Lives Matter organizer Ashley Gantt.

Organizers said Friday they would be filing lawsuits, adding that they would continue to demonstrate day and night until their demands are met.

Protest moments

On Wednesday of this week, organizers of Free the people Roc first announced the death of Daniel Prude, with the family and announced intentions to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Rochester.

Protesters demonstrating over Daniel Prude’s death clashed with police outside the Public Safety Building in downtown Rochester late Thursday, and into Friday morning.

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

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.

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.

Seven Rochester police officers have been suspended with pay in connection to the incident.

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

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