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Officers suspended in case of NY man who died after his head was covered with hood

People are protesting outside Rochester, New York police headquarters after the family of a man who suffocated during an incident with police in March released body-camera footage. (Dreamstime/TNS)
September 04, 2020

Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, New York, said she’s suspending the officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who suffocated during a police incident in the city in March.

People protested outside Rochester’s police headquarters after body-camera footage released by Prude’s family on Wednesday that showed the officers covered the man’s head with a hood and pressed his face into the ground. The family called for charges against the officers. The incident has been under investigation by New York state Attorney General Letitia James’ office since April.

“I am suspending the officers in question today against the advice of counsel, and I urge the attorney general to complete her investigation,” Warren said at a briefing Thursday, adding that the move may prompt the union to sue the city.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier demanded answers and asked for an expedited probe, calling the video “deeply disturbing.”

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Prude’s death happened two months before George Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody, which sparked national protests and debates over law enforcement and racial injustice. The Rochester incident received little media attention until the footage was released this week.

“Mr. Prude’s tragic death requires full accountability for any and all wrongdoing and an immediate and complete investigation, which Attorney General James is currently doing,” U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday that he spoke on the phone with Jacob Blake, the Black man shot multiple times on Aug. 23 in the back by a White police officer in Kenosha. The phone call occurred during an hourlong visit with Blake’s relatives.

Biden said Blake was out of intensive care. “He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him,” Biden told a group at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha. “How, whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up.”

A Fox News poll released Wednesday found that likely voters in Wisconsin preferred Biden’s handling of policing and criminal justice issues by 5 percentage points over Trump, who visited Kenosha on Tuesday but didn’t meet with Blake’s family. The poll found Biden leading Trump by the same margin in Arizona, another electoral battleground, while the president edged out Biden by 1 point on the issue among North Carolina voters.

Protests are also brewing in Washington, where an officer shot and killed an 18-year-old Black man on Wednesday. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the Police Department has released the officer’s body-cam footage to “urgently” provide a preliminary update to the public.

“Our officer was trying to take guns off the street and what I know is he encountered somebody with a gun,” Bowser said. “Now the rest of the investigation has to happen and that’s the stage where we are now.”

Protests are planned this weekend at the Kentucky Derby, which is taking place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, the city where Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in March after police burst into her apartment. The Black owner of a horse in the race is facing calls to boycott it, The New York Times reported.

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© 2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.