Police leaders pressurize Rochester to keep Daniel Prude video secret

Rochester police commanders urged city officials to publicly release public camera footage of Daniel Prude’s bruised death as they anticipate a violent setback if the video shows new email police murder of George Floyd But during the countrywide protests came out.

Deputy Chief Mark Simmons cited the “current climate” in the city and country in an email on June 4, stating city attorneys for the March 23 footage of a Prude family lawyer’s rejection of a public records request The then chief Lauren Single advised. Due to which he died.

Daniel Proud.Provided by family lawyer Elliot Shields

Finally in a video made public on 4 September by Prude’s family, Prude appears naked wearing handcuffs and a spit with a naked head, as one officer pushes his face off the ground, while another officer pokes his knee is. The officers restrained him for about two minutes until he breathed. A week later he was removed from life support.

“We certainly do not want people to misinterpret the actions of the officers and counter the incident with the recent killings of unarmed black men nationally by law enforcement,” Simmons wrote. “This will only be a false narrative, and may result in hostility and potentially violent withdrawal in this community.”

Western New York City released emails, police reports and other documents on Monday, as Mayor Lovely Warren fired Singletary and suspended corporation consultant Tim Curtin and Director of Communications Justin Rose for 30 consecutive days without Prudue’s death. . Simmons was named interim chief of the police department.

Simmons’ emails denying freedom of information law seeking to free the city were concerned with releasing video of a March 23 encounter with emails from other police officers as protesters take to the streets of Rochester and elsewhere From where Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis was opposed. Other police murders of black people.

On June 4, Lt. Mike Perkowski told a city attorney that he was “very concerned about releasing it in light of what’s happening ahead of time” and Capt. Frank Ambrino told another police officer, ” Any information should be coordinated in the release and combination. There is some very deep impact with the mayor and the head. “

According to the documents released on Monday, Simmons sent both emails with his message to Singleri, advising the chief to request public records of the Prud family’s attorney. Simmons suggested that the city reject the request because the case was being investigated by the state attorney general’s office.

“Completely agree,” Singletary replied, according to the email.

Later on June 4, as the discussion of the record request continued, city attorney Stephanie Prince offered Curtin a way to buy more time: allowing the attorney general’s office to show the family the video, as in other cases But do not give them a copy.

“As such, the city has not been releasing anything related to the case for at least a month (at most 2), and it will not be publicly available,” Prince wrote.

Warren says he hadn’t seen the body camera footage until the city’s lawyers played it for him on August 4 and Singledary initially misled him about the circumstances of Prude’s death.

After watching the video, Warren emailed Singletary that he is “angry” at the conduct of the officer who pressed Prude’s head against Mark Vaughan, on the ground, and should face an immediate disciplinary investigation.

In an unsolicited draft of that email, Warren fired Singletary for his death already citing the “drug-underplayed” Prude’s death as a drug overdose. In the draft, drawn with the help of deputy mayor James Smith, Warren said she strongly believed Vaughn should be fired and asked for Vaughn’s termination in March, had he seen the footage then. He suspended Vaughan and six other officers last week.

Warren wrote in the draft, “Frankly, I hope the police chief showed me this video in March.” The toned down version sent to Singletary did not include that criticism.

“I need to know. Everybody is right. I should know,” Warren told WHEC-TV on Tuesday. But this incident – an unfortunate and tragic situation – was brought down from the beginning as a PCP overdose. “

A cursory management review conducted by Smith on the city’s handling of Prude’s death found that the release of body camera video was halted due to concerns about optics costs, as the city improved relations between police and the public Has done “considerable damage” to the making. .

“It is hard to argue that anyone who watched the video of Mr. Proud’s encounter with RPD did not equate these events beyond the mere mention of bad publicity, politics, the process, or a ‘false narrative’.” Smith wrote. “Rochester is in dire need of therapy. We lost about six months of starting that process.”

WHEC-TV voted Tuesday night to repeal its decision to build a new $ 16 million police station.

Singletary announced his retirement last week as the city’s police leadership chief shakeup, but planned to stay until the end of the month. Announcing his retirement Sept 8, outgoing leading critics accused him of trying to “destroy my character and integrity”.

Prude’s death has led to a nearly two-week night of protests and calls for Warren’s resignation. His family has filed a federal lawsuit demanding the police department cover the true nature of Prude’s death.