City Councilmember Mary Lupien (D-East) described why the demonstrators did what they did Monday morning.
“It was cold. He was handcuffed on the ground, no blanket,” Lupien said. “It can too quickly be sensationalized and really compartmentalized, but I think it’s really impactful to just imagine as a human being this happening to you and your loved one.
“When police show a militaristic response, they send the message that the community is the enemy and we are not — we are in this together to protect our community from any harm,” Lupien said.
The demonstrators sat outside the Public Safety Building, in the middle of the street, with their hands behind their backs for about an hour.
Organizers have a list of demands (full document below), that includes:
- Statewide passage of Daniel’s Law
- Statewide passage of Cariol’s Law
- Statewide ban on police use of force against peaceful protesters
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 last week with body camera footage surfacing, 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.
Protests have been ongoing in Rochester since the news broke Wednesday.