Judge orders grand jury minutes in Daniel Prude case to be released with redactions

Regional News

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 06: A makeshift memorial for Daniel Prude is seen prior to a march on September 06, 2020 in Rochester, New York. Prude died after being arrested on March 23 by Rochester police officers who had placed a “spit hood” over his head and pinned him to the ground while restraining him. This is the fifth consecutive night of protesting since the family released bodycam footage of Mr. Prude’s arrest. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Redacted grand jury minutes in the Daniel Prude case will be made public.

Justice Craig Doran, the Administrative Judge for New York’s Seventh Judicial District, told News 8 Tuesday that the order has been given for the grand jury minutes, with redactions to be police. The request to do so was made by New York Attorney General Letitia James to Judge Karen Bailey Turner.

There is no word at this time on when specifically the grand jury minutes with redactions will be made public.

“As I have contended throughout my entire career, there can be no accountability without transparency, and the public deserves to know what transpires behind closed doors,” James said last month after the grand jury rendered their decision. “That is why I filed a motion with the court to have the grand jury proceedings of this case unsealed and made available to the public, which the judge has just granted this evening. As soon as the judge authorizes, my office will release those proceedings so the Prude family, the Rochester community, and communities across the country will no longer be kept in the dark. This is a critical step in effecting the change that is so desperately needed.”

In February, the grand jury decided not to indict the officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude.

The attorney general said she was “extremely disappointed” in the grand jury’s conclusion. Her office compiled a report of recommendation for police reform in response to Prude’s death, including use of force standards and mental health response.

“I am disappointed, extremely disappointed,” James said. “Unfortunately, historically, if one analyzes the intersection of the criminal justice system and race, one recognizes the influence of race. From the slave clothes, to lynches, to Jim Crow, to the war on crime, to the over incarceration of the people of color. Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and now Daniel Prude.”

Seven Rochester police officers were 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.

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 in September, 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.

In a one-on-one interview with News 8 anchor Adam Chodak in September of 2020, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she was kept in the dark regarding Prude’s death, adding that that the RPD’s handling if the incident was “clear deception,” and “done purposefully.”

However, in a public deposition with Rochester City Council earlier this month, Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary disputed some of Mayor Warren’s claims.

Singletary was fired by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in September, after details about Prude’s March death following an encounter with Rochester police first became public.

In December, the City of Rochester’s Office of Public Integrity has cleared all city employees of any potential wrongdoing in connection to the death of Daniel Prude.

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