Daniel Prude died in early 2020 after police in Rochester, New York, placed him in a full-face “spit hood,” and then proceeded to hold him face down on the pavement. Prude subsequently suffocated under the circumstances. An investigation was later launched into the officer-involved death incident.
Investigators examining how the city of Rochester handled the Prude case revealed on Friday that officials had knowingly suppressed information regarding both the arrest and death.
The report states that by mid-April 2020, the four Rochester city officials “had learned that [Rochester Police Department] officers had physically restrained Daniel Prude during the course of an arrest on March 23, 2020; that the restraint had caused Mr. Prude’s death; and that the officers were the subjects of a criminal investigation.”
“None of this was disclosed to the public before the Prude family’s September 2 news conference,” the report highlights.
Additionally, Celli’s probe highlighted a variety of statements made to the public by Warren, Singletary and Curtin after the family’s September conference that were false. Among those false statements were claims that the office of the attorney general had issued instructions to the city to not disclose any facts surrounding the case.
Incidentally, after Warren watched the body camera footage and sought to publicly disclose the arrest, the report states that Curtin had “actively discouraged” her from doing so.
A statement released by Celli underscores that the investigation found that there was no reasonable explanation for decisions the city of Rochester took in the wake of Prude’s death.
“Did officials of City government suppress information about the arrest and death of Daniel Prude between March 23, 2020, when the arrest occurred, and September 2, 2020, when the Prude family publicly released body-worn camera footage of the incident?” Celli wrote.
The latest development came days after Prude’s children announced a federal lawsuit against the city of Rochester, accusing both the city and its police department of violating their father’s civil rights and attempting to “cover-up” the incident. Earlier, a grand jury in February declined to bring criminal charges against the officers involved in Prude’s death.
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