ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — More than 1,000 protesters marched through Rochester Saturday night, demonstrating to demand justice for Daniel Prude and calling for major reforms to the Rochester Police Department.
Activists gathered on Jefferson Avenue, where Prude’s encounter with police occurred, around 6:30 p.m.
After speeches and song, they marched downtown, stopping at the steps of City Hall along the way for more speeches. From there, the demonstration went down State Street where they were met by police.
Saturday’s march marks the fourth straight night Rochester has seen demonstrations since activists brought to light the death of Daniel Prude. The protest comes on the heels of a Friday night which saw 11 people arrested and three officers injured.
Attorney General Letitia James announced Saturday. her office would empanel a grand jury as part of her investigation into Prude’s death. Adam Bello (D), the Monroe County Executive, called the move “an important first step” in getting answers.
Mayor Lovely Warren also praised the move, thanking Attorney General James in a statement, the first public comment made by the Rochester mayor since Thursday:
“I thank Attorney General James for taking this action because it is a trying time in Rochester. I ask that the community to allow the AG’s process to go forth on behalf of the Prude family,” the mayor said in a statement.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also voiced support of the Attorney General’s development, in a statement Saturday saying:
“Earlier this week, I called for the investigation into Daniel Prude’s death to be expedited. Today, I applaud Attorney General Tish James for taking swift, decisive action in empaneling a grand jury — justice delayed is justice denied and the people of New York deserve the truth.”
Prude, a 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, died after an encounter with Rochester police back in March, but news of the incident just came to light Wednesday, and now the case is being investigated by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude a homicide. The report says Prude’s cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed that Prude also had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death, which could explain his erratic behavior.
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.