ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A rally was held Saturday in Rochester on Jefferson Avenue where more than 1,000 people gathered to demand justice for Daniel Prude, who died on March 23. The crowd marched toward downtown Rochester and arrived at City Hall shortly after 9:30 p.m..
Officers with the Rochester Police Department blocked off streets from a distance to allow for a peaceful protest and march.
According to officers at the rally, they saw commercial-grade fireworks in the crowd. The crowd marched toward Broad Street and Exchange Street at 10:18 p.m.
Police say some members of the crowd threw bottles at them. Shortly before 10:30 p.m., officers deployed tear gas and pepper balls to disperse the crowd.
Activists say police used excessive force.
“The inhumanity Rochester police unleashed last night is the product of an institution that has been granted too much power; Power to abuse the people they serve, power to respond to our voices with their violence, power to act with impunity,” said Iman Abid, NYCLU Genesee Valley Chapter Director, in a statement. “People speaking out are not enemy combatants, and to fire flash bangs, tear gas, and pepper balls at demonstrations against police violence only proves the point. The Mayor and RPD must stop these warfare tactics now.”
Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart (D-21) says she was on the front lines of the protest, and said on Twitter that RPD’s tactics need to change:
Officers held the intersection of Exchange Boulevard and Broad Street. According to police, fireworks were thrown towards officers at around 11:10 p.m. By midnight, most of the protesters left the downtown area.
The RPD said 50-100 protesters were throwing objects at officers from various locations near State Street and City Hall. According to officers at the scene, some were breaking windows at City Hall.
Most of the protesters left the area shortly before 1 a.m.
Police say members of the RPD injured during the rally.
The following nine people were arrested during the rally for Daniel Prude:
- Dallas Williams-Smothers. 20 years old for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 1st degree (Felony) and Rioting in the 2nd degree (Misdemeanor)
- Adam Green, 20 years old for Assault 2nd against an Officer (Felony) and Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
- Juan Santos, 34 years old for Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
- Angel Lopez, 33 years old for Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
- Sonia McGaffigan, 19 years old for Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
- Jacob Curley, 22 years old for Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
- Martin Muggleton, 62yrs old for Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
- Andrew Trammel, 29yrs old for Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
- Daniel Prouty, 26yrs old for Unlawful Assembly (Misdemeanor)
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 Wednesday, 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.
Seven Rochester police officers have been 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.