New York Daily News
A Rochester, New York-commissioned panel investigating the city’s response to the police suffocation death of an unarmed Black man last year said the mayor lied about when she learned the details of the case and misled the public to dodge responsibility.
Months after cops slipped a hood over Daniel Prude’s head to keep the mentally ill man from spitting at them during a March 23 arrest, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said it wasn’t until August that she learned officers had physically restrained Prude, who had been running naked through the streets.
Warren had accused police officials about misleading her about the circumstances of the fatal encounter. But a new probe into Prude’s death said the mayor has been the one misrepresenting the facts.
“In the final analysis, the decision not to publicly disclose these facts rested with Mayor Warren, as the elected mayor of the city of Rochester,” an executive summary of the 84-page report said.
“But Mayor Warren alone is not responsible for the suppression of the circumstances of the Prude arrest and Mr. Prude’s death,” the summary said.
According to the report, Warren was told that very day that officers had used physical restraint — and by mid-April she and then-Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, along with other officials, were aware that Prude had died as a result and that the officers were under criminal investigation.
Warren claimed to the public that Singletary initially told her that Prude’s death was a “drug overdose,” but Friday’s report said he never told her that.
After slipping the hood over Prude’s head, cops allegedly held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing.
Prude, 41, died a week later after he was taken off life support.
Protests over Prude’s death erupted in early September after his relatives released the police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.
Warren fired Singletary in response to fallout over the case.
The report was commissioned by Rochester’s city council and made public Friday. Warren has not issued a comment about the report.
A grand jury last month declined to indict the officers involved.
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