THE LATEST: Updates on continuing response to the death of Daniel Prude

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

ROCHESTER — After several days of tense demonstrations in Rochester, a Sunday protest and march ended peacefully, with no reported arrests or injuries.

Monday began with naked and partially naked protesters downtown. 

The demonstrations began on Wednesday after the Democrat and Chronicle reported the story of Daniel Prude, who died after being restrained by Rochester Police Department officers in March.

A timeline of local journalists' coverage, observations and official news releases follows. Check back for more details.

President tweets inaccurate account of Sunday events

President Donald Trump tweeted at 10.09 a.m. Monday, "Rochester N.Y., Brooklyn N.Y., Portland - All had bad nights, all badly run by Radical Left Democrat Governors and Mayors! Get the picture?"

The president's tweet does not accurately reflect the course of events in the city Sunday night which saw no arrests or injuries, despite a group of nearly 1,000 people marching to the Public Safety Building and arriving at 9.40 p.m. An RPD statement thanked a group of elders for "keeping the protest safe."

A statement issued by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren an hour after Trump's social media asked that "… all involved ignore the commentary from the President. It is clear his only desire is to bait people to act with hate and violence that he believes will benefit politically. We will not give him what he wants. We will continue to act with grace and do the work necessary to improve Rochester and out entire community."

Friday and Saturday nights in the city saw significant physical confrontations between police in riot suits and protesters on the third and fourth nights of protest over the death of Daniel Prude.

Trump has frequently used his social media account to politicize the nationwide protests that have gained momentum in towns and cities across America following the death of George Floyd during a police arrest in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. 

Mayor says she issued 'edict' for restraint

The lack of arrests or injuries on Sunday night during a peaceful march by an estimated 1,000 people could partly be attributed to an "edict" from Mayor Warren to the Rochester Police Department and Chief Singletary " adopt a smaller and more restrained posture."

The mayor referred to the "edict" in a sharp riposte she issued Monday morning over a tweet from President Trump alleging that cities run by Democrats, including Rochester, had had a "bad night," referring to Sunday.

Sunday night was the fifth successive night of protests over the death of Daniel Prude but was noticeably peaceful in comparison to Friday and Saturday, an outcome that the mayor said was the result of the presence of community elders lead by pastor Myra Brown and leaders from the local Black Lives Matter movement all "...helping ensure calm."

Naked protesters in downtown Rochester

Monday, 7:42 a.m. Six naked or nearly naked protesters — some with Black Lives Matter written across their backs — sat silently on Exchange Street facing Rochester's Public Safety Building on a rainy, chilly Monday morning.

They wore "spit hoods," the mesh fabric bag which Rochester police used on Daniel Prude on March 23. Prude died of asphyxiation as police restrained him, according to the county medical examiner.  

After sitting unclothed in the rain, the wet protesters were wrapped in blankets and led from the protest, symbolizing the care that many found lacking in video of the Rochester Police Department's treatment of Prude.

Paul Hypolite of Brooklyn was among the six who demonstrated in the rain. He lived in Rochester for five years and has friends and family in the area. "I love the people of this city," he said.

He said he felt enraged as he sat in the rain. "It doesn't seem possible that humans could treat each other that way," he said, referring to the body worn camera video of Prude. "I don't understand how someone can see another human in that position and not feel compassion and want do whatever they can to help them."

The group that organized the protest, which they simply labeled as community members, said they were in solidarity with the Rochester group Free the People Roc. The protesters distributed a list of demands for New York state, including police not responding to mental health calls, changes in policies for police misconduct and a ban on the use of chemical weapons against peaceful protesters.

No injuries, arrests reported Sunday night

Monday, 1:33 a.m. Rochester police released the following statement after the protests ended on Sunday.

The Rochester Police Department (RPD) reports the following information from Sunday’s protest.

At around 8:45 p.m, a crowd of approximately 1,000 protesters began marching towards Downtown Rochester from Jefferson Avenue and Dr. Samuel McCree Way. At approximately 9:40 p.m., the group of protesters arrived at the Public Safety Building.

There are no arrests to report.

The Rochester Police Department would like to thank our local and state law enforcement partners for their assistance and a special thanks to Dr. Myra Brown and a group of community elders for keeping the protest safe and allowing everyone’s voice to be heard.