City mayor promises police reforms after fifth night of protests
The mayor of Rochester in New York has promised reforms are coming to the city’ s police department as community elders sought to bring calmer minds to a fifth night of demonstrations over the March death of Daniel Prude, who lost consciousness after police held him down with a hood over his head.
The pledge came as several protesters – naked except for “spit hoods” in a reference to the killing of black man Daniel Prude – sat outside Rochester’s police headquarters yesterday morning to push for police accountability.
Photos and video showed roughly a half-dozen demonstrators, naked or in minimal clothes and some with “Black Lives Matter” written on their backs, sitting silently with their hands behind them, on a rain-slicked street outside the city Public Safety Building.
US president Donald Trump tweeted that Rochester was among cities that had “bad nights” while Mayor Lovely Warren commended activist leaders, police and community elders on a night of calm protest on Sunday.
Ms Warren had earlier announce data news conference the crisis intervention team and its budget would move from the police department to the city’s department of youth and recreation services.
She did not provide specifics, but said the move would be part of a series of reforms planned for“the coming weeks, months and years”.
“We had a human being in a need of help, in need of compassion,” she said. “In that moment we had an opportunity to protect him, to keep him warm, to bring him to safety, to begin the process of healing him and lifting him up. We have to own the fact that in the moment we did not do that.”
Police Chief La’ron Single - tary said he supported the need for reform in his department and was working with experts and clinicians in getting outpatient services for people with mental health issues that bring them into repeated police contact.
Ms Warren suspended the seven officers involved in Mr Prude’s death last week after his family released police video from the March night when he was restrained on a city street.
The video shows the officers covering Mr Prude’s head with a“spit hood” designed to protect police from bodily fluids, after he complied with being handcuffed, then pressing his face into the pavement for two minutes. Mr Prude, 41, was naked at the time of his arrest on the light-snowy day in March. He died a week later after he was taken off life support.
The police union head said the officers were following their training.
Protests have followed each day since the family released the video on Wednesday.