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Report Says Rochester Mayor, City Officials Lied, Hid Details In Death Of Daniel Prude

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A new report in the death of Daniel Prude says the city's mayor and several city officials worked to keep details of the case secret for months and even lied to the public about what they knew. The Chicago man was visiting family in Rochester, New York, last month when he died in police custody.

Prude's children say they had to wait months to find out what happened to their father leading up to his arrest and death. This report from Special Council Investigators outlines why with interference, stalling and misleading information from Rochester's Mayor on down.

In the early hours of March 23rd, 2020 Daniel Prude of Chicago was naked and handcuffed on a street in Rochester, New York. This was a mental health call.

Minutes later, he would have a spit hood on his head, and the body weight of officers on him. He'd be taken to the hospital where he'd die, days later. And months later, Rochester city officials would lie about what they knew about all of it, according to a report released Friday.

"They're incredibly let down," said Nicolette Ward, the Chicago attorney representing Prude's children. "They weren't surprised by the fact that there was a cover up. They were shocked by the magnitude of it."

The report outlines untruths and work to suppress information by city staff. In September of last year, Mayor Lovely Warren said she had only learned of how Prude was restrained that August.

But investigators found "the very morning it happened, the mayor and Police Chief La'Ron Singletary spoke by telephone about the Prude arrest."

The Mayor also claimed she'd learned his death was ruled a homicide last August. The report shows "the chief informed the Mayor on April 13th."

The Police Chief himself is also implicated.

"There is no cover up whatsoever," he said last year.

The report finds "Rochester Police officials, including the chief, advocated against the release of the body warn camera footage" that Prude's family requested. In a statement Friday, Warren said she welcomed the report "because it allows our community to move forward". Prude's children agree. Rochester's residents will now know how its city treated their father.

"Every member of the government treated this as an accident, brushed it off, and this is a persons life," said Ward.

Warren remains mayor of Rochester. She fired Police Chief Singletary in the wake of Prude's death. There are several other city employees implicated in the report.

Even after a report like this, the special council can't recommend any legal punishment for the players involved. But we do know that just this week Prude's five children, four of whom are in the Chicago area, put forth a new filing of a federal wrongful death and civil rights violation suit against Rochester Police.

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