Rochester mayor proposes police reforms in wake of Daniel Prude’s death

Northeast

The mayor said that a church leader will lead a coalition of elders to serve as a buffer between protesters and police during demonstrations, after calls by activists that Rochester police have used excessive force.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (NewsNation Now) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Police Chief La’Ron Singletary held a news conference Sunday following the third day of protests over the death of Daniel Prude.

While local activists have called for the mayor and police chief’s resignations, the mayor proposed police reforms to better address mental health issues in the community.

“We will take our family crisis intervention team out of the police department,” Warren said. “We will fully engage with the RASE commission and a real, rapid response team to further improve our response to mental heath crisis and reimagine our police department.”

“I understand that there are certain calls that law enforcement shouldn’t handle alone,” Chief Singletary said.

Prude, 41, died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after an incident with Rochester police . Prude’s family said he was suffering a mental health crisis. On newly-released bodycam video, his brother can be heard telling the responding officer that Prude is high on PCP.

Seven Rochester police officers have been suspended with pay in connection to the incident: Officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sgt. Michael Magri.

The mayor defended Chief Singletary, saying she believes he’s the man to guide the community through these difficult times.

“I wholeheartedly believe that Chief La’Ron Singletary is the right person to lead us through these times,” Mayor Warren said. “He was born and raised right here in Rochester. I do not believe there is another person more dedicated to change the culture of policing than La’Ron.”

The mayor said that the police need to protect the Public Safety Building.

“There is credible information that outside agitators want to destroy the Public Safety Building, Mayor Warren said.

“We do have intelligence that we’ve been receiving that there have been outside agitators that have come to Rochester, as you know we monitor social media,” Chief Singletary said. “So we do have credible information that one of the areas they want to target, symbolic feature. We have arrested people who provided address from Alaska, Massachusetts and other parts of the country.”

The mayor said that Reverend Myra Brown of Spiritus Christi Church will lead a coalition of elders to serve as a buffer between protesters and police during demonstrations, after calls by activists that Rochester police have used excessive force with pepper bullets, and tear gas. Brown hopes the elders’ presence will help deescalate tensions.

“I’m asking elders to be there from the beginning of the protest until the end of the protest because we need to be able to move freely,” she said “We need to be able to move in a space where it is not declared to be an unlawful gathering,” said Brown.

NewsNation affiliate WROC contributed to this report.

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