NEW YORK — Seven police officers involved in the suffocation death of Daniel Prude last spring in Rochester, New York, were suspended Thursday by the city’s mayor, who said she was misled for months about the circumstances of the fatal encounter.
Prude, 41, who was Black, died when he was taken off life support March 30. That was seven days after officers who encountered him running naked through the street put a hood over his head to stop him from spitting, then held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced the suspensions at a news conference amid criticism that the city kept quiet about Prude’s death for months.
Prude “was failed by the police department, our mental health care system, our society, and he was failed by me,” Warren said.
The mayor said she only became aware that Prude’s death involved the use of force on Aug. 4, and that Police Chief La’Ron Singletary initially portrayed it as a drug overdose, which is “entirely different” than what she witnessed in body camera video. The mayor said she told the chief she was “deeply, personally and professionally disappointed” in his failure to accurately inform her what happened to Prude.
Warren said the seven officers would still be paid because of contract rules and that she was taking the action against the advise of attorneys.