Rochester City Council passes three bills addressing police funding and authorizing investigation related to Daniel Prude’s death

The Rochester City Council passed three bills Tuesday addressing funding for its police department and authorizing an independent investigation relating to Daniel Prude’s death in police custody in March.

The council in upstate New York authorized an independent investigation of the city’s handling of Daniel Prude’s arrest and death. The legislation approves a maximum of $100,000 in funding for the firm, according to the bill. The bill passed eight to zero.

On Monday, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren fired the police chief just days after he said he would retire at the end of the month. “This initial look has shown what so many have suspected, that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department,” Warren said.

Attorneys for Prude’s family recently released police body camera video that shows officers covering his head with a “spit sock” and holding him on the ground in a prone position before he stopped breathing. Prude was declared brain-dead at a hospital, where he died March 30.

The news that another Black man died while in police custody has sparked daily protests in the city.

The firm conducting the investigation will look into internal communications and proceedings related to Prude’s death, according to the city council.

The new legislation also includes a repeal of funding and the authorization for a new police station and neighborhood center, which was passed seven to one.

The legislation approving the project was passed on August 18, and the city hasn’t yet issued bonds or sign contacts related to the project, according to a press release.

City council members discussed that while the project was already in progress, they plan to look into a different use of the land.

The council also passed legislation to transfer Family and Victim Services and its funding to the Department of Recreation and Youth Services, which was previously housed under the Rochester Police Department. The bill passed eight to zero.

Warren previously expressed support for the transfer of Family and Victim services and the independent investigation.

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