Rochester Mayor Fires Police Chief After Daniel Prude Death

Mark Simmons to serve as interim Rochester Police Chief

Mark Simmons to serve as interim Rochester Police Chief

Warren also announced that city Communications Director Justin Roj and Tim Curtin, of the city's cooperation counsel, have been suspended without pay.

'Frankly the public should have been informed of Mr Prude's death and the circumstances that led to his death in March, and after seeing the video, I should have conducted a formal review'.

"We have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department, one that views everything through the eyes of the badge and not the citizens that we serve", Warren said during a news conference.

The decisions followed a "cursory management review of the city's role in the death of Daniel Prude and subsequent actions", according to a news release posted Monday on the city website.

Last week, Prude's sister filed suit in federal court against Singletary, 13 other officers and the upstate NY city, alleging in part a department cover-up of the death. "It shows that Mr. Prude's death was not taken as seriously as it should have been".

Warren also stated that she's directed the city's Office of Public Integrity to conduct an investigation to determine whether any city employees, herself included, violated city or departmental ethical policies in relation to the Prude case.

Prude's death gained national attention earlier this month after his family released records and footage of the incident, which has fueled ongoing protests over police brutality and racial injustice that were sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has said she will investigate Prude's death and take the case to a grand jury.

'This tragic loss of life has shown that we have systematic failures, ' she said. We will regroup in a few days when I will answer any questions you have given the documents you will receive today'.

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His brother, Joe Prude, had called 911 seeking help for Daniel Prude's unusual behavior.

The medical examiner ultimately ruled on April 16 that Prude died as a result of "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint". The report also cites excited delirium and acute PCP intoxication as causes of death.

Prude, who was unarmed and suffering from a psychotic episode at the time, lost consciousness while he was held down and died in a hospital a week later. Prude's sister, Tameshay, sued as executor of his estate and named the city of Rochester, Singletary and officers involved in the arrest as defendants.

Roj, the city communications director, responded to his suspension without pay in a statement shortly after Warren's press conference on Monday.

Warren added, there was "information that was brought to light today that I have not previously seen before".

In a statement, Roj said he was not aware of what happened to Prude before August 4.

Roj went on to say that he did not disclose the video's existence publicly after he saw it because he was informed that an investigation was underway and did not want to hinder it.

"In hindsight, I agree that I should have questioned the Chief further and/or taken the opportunity to discuss his email with the mayor", he said.

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