The 41-year-old black man had a mental emergency on March 23 when officials covered his head with a “spit sock” and held him prone on the floor before he stopped breathing. He was pronounced brain dead and died a week later.
His family lawyers released the police camera video of the encounter earlier this month, sparking daily protests in Rochester.
Protesters are demanding that all officers involved in Prude’s arrest be dismissed, prosecuted and convicted. They are also calling for the resignation of the city’s mayor, Lovely Warren, and the chief of police, La̵
Mayor and boss vow to reform the police
Warren said during a news conference on Sunday that the city would expand its initiatives to address mental health issues and police reform concerns brought to the fore by Prude’s death.
These initiatives include doubling the availability of mental health professionals and moving the Family Crisis Intervention Team (FACIT) from the police department to the youth and recreation services department, which has similar programs, Warren said.
The mayor also said the city plans to work with the Monroe County’s Racial and Structural Justice Commission to “further improve our mental health crisis response and overhaul our law enforcement agency.”
Warren added that both she and Singletary are working to do better.
“It is my solemn duty as mayor of our city to honor Mr. Prude, not to let his death go in vain and to do everything possible to change the way we monitor our city to really protect and serve our residents,” said Warren.
CNN reported last week that Warren asked Singletary to provide a report within 30 days on how to improve mental health-related calls in Rochester.
Singletary said Sunday that his department is looking at ways to improve policing regarding mental health.
“Going forward, we aim to take the necessary steps to prevent this from ever happening again. And I understand that there are certain calls that law enforcement agencies shouldn’t handle alone, and we’re looking for ways that are policing related having to redefine mental health and have been for several months, “Singletary said.
The officers involved were suspended without pay
No one was charged with Prude’s death, convicted of murder by the Monroe County medical examiner.
The medical examiner’s report cited complications of asphyxiation with restraint as a cause of death. The report also cited excited delirium and acute PCP intoxication as causes.
Despite seeing the video of Prude’s arrest on Aug. 4, Warren said on Sunday that she wanted to suspend the seven officers involved a month later after learning that the Attorney General’s investigation didn’t stop her.
“Our understanding from our Legal Department was that the Attorney General’s Office was in the middle of their investigation and we couldn’t get in the middle of that investigation,” Warren said. “The attorney general came out and said we could go ahead, so I believed we had to suspend the officers and that we needed the attorney general’s office to complete their independent review.”
The long delay in announcing Prude’s death by police has raised concerns that officials tried to hide the death.
Last week Warren stated she was originally misled by Singletary, leading her to believe the man had died of an overdose while in police custody.
But on Sunday Warren said the police chief provided the information he knew when he had it.
CNN’s Ganesh Setty and Travis Nichols contributed to this report.