News Release - Mayor Warren Responds to the Death of Mr. Daniel Prude

City of Rochester

News Release 

Notable News:

  • All Officers Involved Suspended Immediately
  • Police Chief LaRon Singletary Officially Reprimanded, Ordered to Take Significant Steps to Improve Police Response to Mental Health Calls and Address Structural Racism
  • City Will Provide $300,000 to Double Availability of Monroe County FIT Team or retool the FACIT program to Respond to Mental Health 911 Calls, Until Permanent Solution is Developed
  • RASE Commission Charged to Develop and Recommend Long-Term Solutions for Response to Mental Health Calls and Changes to Mental Health Care to Address Crises Like Mr. Prude’s
  • Mayor Warren Will Seek to Meet with the Prude Family and Local BLM Protestors to Discuss Mr. Prude’s Life and Elevate Their Policy ideas
  • RPD Ordered to Provide Any Video of Any In-Custody Death or Use of Force to Mayor Warren for Review Within 24 Hours of the Incident

(Thursday, September 3, 2020) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren today discussed Mr. Daniel Prude’s death and announced the immediate actions she is taking in response. She also discussed the systemic failures in mental health care and policing that led to his death. The Mayor announced the immediate and indefinite suspension of all Officers involved in responding to the mental health call regarding Mr. Prude on March 23.

“Mr. Daniel Prude was failed by our police, our mental health care system, our society and by me,” said Mayor Warren. “And, for that I apologize to the Prude family and all of our community. In August 1962, my cousin’s grandfather Rufus Fairwell was a victim of police brutality and eventually became the first citizen of Rochester to receive a settlement for his suffering. It is now September 2020 and Daniel Prude’s death has proven yet again that many of the challenges we faced then still exist today. However, today, I am taking action to address these challenges and build upon our City’s work to address racism in all its forms. Doing this work has been at the heart of my service as Mayor, yet today is not the day to recount these efforts, but to redouble them.”

Immediately Improving Mental Health Response

After discussions with City Council, Mayor Warren announced that the City will provide additional funding and either partner with Monroe County to double the availability of its Forensic Intervention Team (FIT) or retool the FACIT program, to pair mental health professionals with law enforcement to allow them to provide a more robust response to mental health-related 911 calls. The Mayor has ordered that the FIT or FACIT be utilized whenever possible by the RPD. The amount of the exact funding will be determined in conjunction with City Council. Mayor Warren also plans to discuss with other government officials establishing a permanent funding stream for an expanded FIT or FACIT program. She also will charge the co-chairs of the RASE commission to develop and recommend long-term solutions for responses to mental health calls and changes to mental health care to address crises like Mr. Prude’s.

Response Timeline

Mayor Warren addressed the timeline of events leading to Daniel Prude’s encounter with police and his subsequent death, as well as the City’s actions afterwards. After the Rochester Police Department responded to the 911 call on March 23, Mayor Warren was informed later that day by Police Chief LaRon Singletary that Mr. Prude had an apparent drug overdose while in custody. Chief Singletary never informed Mayor Warren of the actions his officers took to forcibly restrain Mr. Prude. She was made aware of the officers’ actions by Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin on August 4 after he reviewed the video while fulfilling a FOIL request from Mr. Prude’s attorney. At no time prior to August 4 did Chief Singletary, nor anyone else make Mayor Warren aware, or show her video of the actions of the RPD officers involved in Mr. Prude’s death.

Officers Suspended

“I have never shied away from taking action and holding our police, or anyone, who fails in their duties to our community accountable,” said Mayor Warren. “That is why I am suspending the officers in question today against the advice of my counsel, and I urge the N.Y. State Attorney General to complete her investigation. I understand that the union may sue me for taking these officers off our streets. They should feel free to do so.”

“Experiencing, and ultimately dying from, a drug overdose while in police custody, as I was told by the Chief, is entirely different than what I ultimately witnessed on the video provided to me by the Law Department. I have since ordered the Chief to provide me with video within 24 hours of any in-custody death or use-of-force incident,” continued Mayor Warren “I have addressed with Police Chief LaRon Singletary how deeply disappointed I am in him personally and professionally for failing to fully and accurately inform me about what occurred to Mr. Prude. He knows he needs to do better to truly protect and serve our community and I know he will.”

Chief Singletary has also been ordered to provide two briefings regarding both the criminal and internal aspects of the investigation to Mayor Warren. The RPD has also been ordered to provide a plan within 30 days to further build upon the expanded availability of FIT to address the Department’s response to mental health calls.

Below are the names of the RPD Officers:

  • Sgt. Michael Magri
  • Officer Josiah Harris
  • Officer Paul Ricotta
  • Officer Francisco Santiago
  • Officer Andrew Specksgoor
  • Officer Troy Taladay
  • Officer Mark Vaughn

Outreach to the Prude Family & Black Live Matter Protestors

Mayor Warren has reached out to the Prude family and local BLM protestors to discuss Mr. Prude’s life and elevate their policy ideas. She renewed her commitment to address racism in all aspects of our City and our society and stated that it must begin with recognizing the basic humanity of individuals who are suffering from mental health issues, like Mr. Prude.

“My heart is with the family of Daniel Prude,” she said. “As a Mayor, mother, sister, daughter and as a Black woman, I am filled with grief and anger at myself for all of the failures that led to his death. The failure of a system, which released him merely hours after his family, had him hospitalized for severe mental health issues. The failure that took place after his brother expressed concern for Mr. Prude’s life, he was dead within minutes of being in police custody. The failure of our police and all of those involved to resolve this investigation and deliver justice for Mr. Prude and his family. I must do better as the leader of this community. My fellow elected officials must do better. Our police must be better. Our health care system must do better; and our entire society must make these changes a priority. We can’t continue to fail Black lives in this way. We can’t improve our City and our nation until we do.”

RASE Commission Removal

Mayor Warren also asked the co-chairs of the RASE commission to remove Chief Singletary and Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo from their leadership roles in the RASE commission so its important work would not be limited by their involvement.


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