The Scotsman

City mayor prom­ises po­lice re­forms after fifth night of protests

- By AN­GUS HOWARTH news­deskts@scots­man.com

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.

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