Written by 8:44 pm New York News

Rochester Police Chief Resigns After Accusations of Cover-Up in Prude Case

The resignations are the latest development in an explosive week in Rochester since the release of the body camera footage and the revelation, in stark images, of Mr. Prude’s encounter with the police.

Mr. Prude arrived in Rochester by train from Chicago and to his brother’s home on March 22. He was behaving so erratically, paranoid and hallucinating, that his brother, Joe Prude, had him admitted to a hospital for evaluation. But Mr. Prude was released hours later, and early the morning of March 23, he bolted from the home and into the streets.

Officers found him naked and ranting; a witness said he heard Mr. Prude claim he had the coronavirus, then on the sharp rise in New York. He was handcuffed without incident, seated in the street. But when he began spitting and ignored orders to stop, officers pulled a so-called spit hood over his head.

Mr. Prude became agitated and tried to rise, and officers restrained him by pushing his head into the street and placing a knee on his torso, according to footage from the body cameras. He stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating. Paramedics revived him and took him to a hospital, where he died March 30.

Hours after the incident, Mr. Singletary told Ms. Warren that a person had suffered a drug overdose while in custody, Ms. Warren said last week. But a county autopsy report labeled Mr. Prude’s death a homicide caused by complications of asphyxiation in a prone position.

Protests have taken place in the streets since the release of the video. On Tuesday, Melanie Funchess, a leader with the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group, part of the Black Lives Matter movement, learned of the chief’s resignation when she saw the news on her phone.

“Wow, he didn’t survive,” she said. “My question is, with him retiring, will a whole story come out?”

Edgar Sandoval contributed reporting from Rochester, N.Y.

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