Written by 4:21 pm News

Protests in Rochester over Daniel Prude’s death begin peacefully but end with damage

It was the third straight night of demonstrations in the city after video was released earlier in the week showing officers holding Daniel Prude on the ground with a spit sock on his head in March. Prude stopped breathing and was declared brain dead at a hospital, and died a week later.

Rochester police arrested 11 people during the outbreaks of violence Friday night, the department said in a statement. Three officers were hurt and were hospitalized, but later released, police said.

The protest Friday evening began with as many as 1,000 people gathered in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, where they chanted and listened to speakers and music, according to the Rochester newspaper the Democrat & Chronicle.
Later, the group moved from the park and headed toward the city. As they marched, some protesters stopped at two restaurants on Alexander Street, where “some in the crowd flipped over tables; glass could be heard shattering,” the newspaper reported. Video recorded and posted on Twitter by Geoffery Rogers shows protesters at both restaurants.

In video posts from CNN affiliate WROC’s social media account, masked protesters could be heard shouting, “Black Lives Matter!” as they marched down Court Street, carrying signs reading “They knew” and “Silence is Compliance.”

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When demonstrators approached the public safety building, they were met by police in riot gear standing behind metal barriers, the newspaper said.

Images from CNN affiliate WHAM show several protesters wearing bike helmets and carrying umbrellas as they approach the police barricade.

In video from Rogers, police are heard on a loudspeaker declaring the protest an “unlawful assembly” and ordering the crowd to disperse.

Police said officers were hit by projectiles and incendiary devices were thrown at them.

In Thursday night’s protests, eight people were arrested and two police officers were injured, authorities said.

A fatal encounter with police

The anger stems from another case of a Black man dying in or after an encounter with police, an issue in the national spotlight.

Attorneys for the family of Daniel Prude released police dash and body cam videos earlier this week showing the encounter between Prude and officers as they responded to multiple calls about his erratic behavior.

The family said Prude was having a mental health episode and was under the influence of drugs early in the morning of March 23.

At approximately 3:16 a.m., the videos show, an officer approaches a naked Prude in the middle of a street with his Taser pointed at him and tells him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Prude complies. He is told not to move and is cuffed.

Daniel Prude's brother said he was acting erratic, suicidal before his deadly interaction with police

After discussing a report that Prude said he had coronavirus, police then place a spit sock over his head as he sits on the street. When he becomes agitated, police put him on his stomach and hold him down. He stopped breathing shortly afterward.

His death a week later was ruled a homicide by the Monroe County Medical Examiner, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by lawyers for his family. The report cites complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint as a finding, as well as excited delirium and acute PCP intoxication as causes of death.

Seven police officers involved in the encounter have been suspended, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced Thursday.

Warren said she had been misled by Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, who she said led her to believe that Prude died in police custody of an overdose. She also said she had first seen the body camera footage in August.

The president of Rochester’s police union said Friday the mayor was not being honest about what she knew and when she knew it. Rochester Police Locust Club President Michael Mazzeo insisted the officers involved in the incident followed their training and protocols.

New York Attorney General Letitia James started an investigation of the case on April 16.

CNN’s Alta Spells, Dave Alsup, Melanie Schuman and Kelly McCleary contributed to this report.

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