Updated Sep 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rochester mayor vows to reform police after Daniel Prude's death

Hundreds of demonstrators march to the City Hall over Daniel Prudeâs death in Rochester, New York, United States on September 5

Demonstrators in Rochester, New York. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Lovely Warren, mayor of Rochester, New York, pledged reforms to the city's police as protests continued Sunday over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who was experiencing mental health issues when he was detained.

Driving the news: Prude died seven days after being hooded and held down by Rochester police. Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said at a news conference with Warren that he supported the changes and he was "dedicated to taking the necessary actions to prevent this from ever happening again."

  • Rochester Police tweeted that over 1,000 people were attending Sunday night's protest, adding, "Let’s work together to keep everyone safe!!"
  • While Saturday night's protests ended with "pepper balls, tear gas and fireworks" during clashes between police and protesters, Sunday's demonstration was peaceful amid the presence of community elders, per the Democrat & Chronicle.
  • Police for the first time permitted demonstrators Sunday to march toward the Public Safety Building, where the Rochester Police Department is located, ABC News notes.

What they're saying: "The only way we are going to change institutional and structural and systematic racism in our city is to face it head-on," said Warren, who apologized for Prude being "failed by our police, our mental health care system, our society, and by me."

  • "We cannot continue to fail Black lives this way," she added. "We can't improve our city or improve our nation until we face the reality, the undeniable truth: Racism is alive and well in every system in America. And the buck stops here today with me at City Hall."

The big picture: An autopsy ruled Prude's March 30 suffocation death was a homicide, arising from "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint," per Rochester First.

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James said Saturday she would impanel a grand jury as part of the state's investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
  • Warren announced on Thursday that seven police officers involved in Prude's case had been suspended.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from Sunday's protests and more context.

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