The mayor of Rochester suspended all of the officers involved in the death of a Black man in March one day after the family released shocking police bodycam footage of his arrest, and five months after he was taken off of life support.
Mayor Lovely Warren told reporters Thursday that she first saw the video of the arrest that led to 41-year-old Daniel Prude’s death on August 4, and has told the city’s police chief to alert her to all in-custody deaths or use-of-force incidents within 24 hours.
“I have never shied away from taking action and holding our police – or anyone that fails in their duties in our community – accountable,” Warren said Thursday during a news conference. “That is why I am suspending the officers in question today, against the advice of counsel.”
Warren said on Wednesday that state law prevented city officials from telling the community about Prude’s arrest and his death, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he issued an executive order in July that allowed Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the death. Yet that order – which transfers an investigation into the death of an unarmed person in police custody from local authorities to the state – does not say local authorities are prohibited from notifying the media and the public about the matter.
“I want everyone to understand and be very clear that at no point in time did we feel this was something we wanted not to disclose,” Warren said on Wednesday. “This is not something that’s in our wheelhouse, in our control, at this moment in time.
“Had it been, then for me, this would be something we would have talked about months ago. Unfortunately I can’t because of what my law department is telling me I have to adhere to, and that’s the executive order and the attorney general’s investigation.”