Gov. Cuomo on Daniel Prude death: ‘What I saw was deeply disturbing and I demand answers’

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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 14: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference at his Midtown Manhattan office, September 14, 2018 in New York City. Cuomo discussed his primary night election victory as well as a range of other topics. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for answers, and an expeditious investigation into the death of Daniel Prude.

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.

That 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 statement Thursday, the governor said:

“Last night, I watched the video of Daniel Prude’s death in Rochester. What I saw was deeply disturbing and I demand answers.

“Under Executive Order 147, which I signed in 2015 after the death of Eric Garner, the Attorney General is investigating and I have full faith that she will complete a thorough review of the facts, get to the bottom of what happened and ensure that justice is served.

“For the sake of Mr. Prude’s family and the greater Rochester community I am calling for this case to be concluded as expeditiously as possible. For that to occur we need the full and timely cooperation of the Rochester Police Department and I trust it will fully comply.”

Meanwhile, New York State Letitia James’ office continues to investigate the matter. In a statement Thursday, A.G. James said:

“As my office continues our investigation into the death of Daniel Prude, it is important for the Rochester community to know that we are working diligently to ensure a swift but thorough investigation. At this time, we have not asked the city of Rochester nor the Rochester Police Department (RPD) to refrain from launching an internal investigation. In fact, we encourage both Rochester and the RPD to proceed with an internal review simultaneous to our investigation. The Prude family and the greater Rochester community deserve answers, and we will continue to work around the clock to provide them.”

Also Thursday, Rochester City Council formally requested that the officers involved in Prude’s death be placed on administrative leave until A.G. James’ investigation is complete. At this time, the officers have not been suspended.

City Council also requested that A.G. James come to Rochester to address the community and provide insight into her office’s investigation.

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