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7 Rochester Cops Suspended in Spit-Hood Death

Daniel Prude asphyxiated in police custody
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2020 1:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Seven Rochester, New York, police officers have been suspended over the death of Daniel Prude, the Black man who asphyxiated in March after cops put a hood over his head. His death only just made headlines, after his family released video of the fatal incident; the city's mayor says the police chief did not give her the full details of the encounter until early August, the Democrat and Chronicle reports. "The only way we can confront systemic racism in our city is to face it head-on," Mayor Lovely Warren said Thursday in announcing the immediate suspensions with pay for all officers present at the scene. "There cannot be a justice system for white people and a justice system for Black people."

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City Council members had, hours previously, sent her a letter calling for action to be taken. They say they learned of Prude's death the same way everyone else did, when the news media started reporting on it Wednesday. "I’m very concerned about all the pieces of the puzzle not being together and being presented to me as a city council member and member of the community in a timely manner," one says. "That is a serious concern." Warren said changes will be made to the policies for reporting deaths of people in police custody, and more funding will be provided for the team that helps individuals with mental health needs and frequent law enforcement contact. Prude was reportedly suffering from mental health problems, WHAM reports. The state attorney general's office has opened an investigation into Prude's death; Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for that probe to be expedited. (Read more police brutality stories.)

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