The documents include other examples of possible attempts by police and city officials to control the story of Prude’s death in custody.
A request by a Prud family lawyer for camera footage triggered efforts by city and police officers to delay the release of the tape, which shows police kneeling and restraining Prud.
Elliott Shields, a lawyer detained by Prude’s brother, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information for Personnel Act on April 3rd. The footage was published only on August 12.
Documents show that after that email, city attorneys spoke to Rochester police officers and also to a New York City attorney’s office in an attempt to deny or delay the request.
“I wonder if we should dwell on this while considering what is happening in the country,”
“We certainly don’t want people to misinterpret officers’ actions and link the incident to the recent killings of unarmed black men by law enforcement at the national level,” Simmons wrote. “Please contact the Board of the Corporation and ask them to reject the request on the grounds that the case is still active, as possible criminal charges are currently being investigated by the AG office.”
“I totally agree,” Singletary replied.
Pond stopped breathing and was pronounced brain dead at a hospital, where he died a week later, on March 30.
The Monroe County medical expert eventually ruled Prude’s death as murder, citing complications from suffocation under physical restraint. The report also cites aggravated delirium and acute PCP intoxication as contributing factors to the immediate cause of death.
Accusations of concealment
“This initial look showed what so many suspect we have a widespread problem at the Rochester Police Department,” Warren said in a news release. “The one who looks at everything through the eyes of the badge, not the citizens we serve. This shows that Mr Prude’s death was not taken as seriously as it should have been by those who dealt with the case in city government at every level. “
In a statement last week announcing his retirement, Singletary said the public had been misinformed about what he had done.
“Members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester community know my reputation and know what I stand for,” Singletari said. “The mischaracterization and politicization of the actions I took after being informed of Mr Prude’s death is not based on facts and is not what I stand for.”
Last week, Prude’s sister filed a lawsuit in federal court against Singletary, 13 other officers and the New York province, claiming in part to cover up the death by a department. Neither Singletary nor the city responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit.
Simmons, acting chief executive, did not respond to a request for comment from CNN on Wednesday.
The New York Freedom of Information Act allows government agencies to detain documents when disclosing them would impede an ongoing investigation or compromise a confidential informant.
Shields, the family’s lawyer, was able to examine police personnel in the Attorney General’s office in mid-July, but did not receive a copy.
In a June 3 email between Rochester Police Lieutenant Michael Perkowski and Rochester City Attorney Stephanie Price, Perkowski said an attorney at AG’s office “might be able to assist by allowing the plaintiff’s attorney to review the footage of the worn-out body camera without releasing them, buy a little more time before we have to release this. “
On Wednesday, the office of New York Attorney General Leticia James issued a statement to CNN in defense of her office.
“At no point in the course of this investigation has any member of the Attorney General’s Office instructed the City of Rochester or the Rochester Police Department to withhold information from any period.
“For weeks, the city and the police have engaged in a deeply disturbing and misleading campaign, trying to cover their tracks and avoid accountability instead of focusing on the real problem. As we have been doing since April, our office will continue to work tirelessly and without distraction to provide the answers that the Pond family and the Rochester community deserve. “
“Make him a suspect”
In addition, the documents show at least two cases in which changes were made to the reports related to the incident that led to Prude’s death.
Two incident documents filed by police officers appear in documents released by the city to be edited in red pencil. It is not clear who made these handwritten notes or when they were actually made. In an incident report filed by Officer Mark Vaughn, among many editions, some prosaic, Pond’s name was written in the space labeled “Victim.”
Prude’s name is rounded in red, next to a large handwritten note: “Make him a suspect.”
A similar note was attached to a report by Officer Paul Ricotta, who responded to a theft alarm at 3:10 p.m.
“List Daniel Prud as [Suspect], “read with a red pencil.” Add burglary – a video recorded during the day [suspect] smash the window and enter a location. “
Footage from the body of Prude’s arrest includes officials speculating whether Prud (described as “Mr. PCP”) may be the person responsible for a broken window in a T-Mobile store. The original report had identified the suspect as “unknown.”
Rochester Police Union President Mike Maceo told CNN on Wednesday that he did not know who wrote the handwritten revisions to the police reports, but said it was standard practice to revise the reports before they were finalized. He pointed out that the reports in question were not signed by a supervisor.
An undated follow-up report on the incident from the Rochester Division of Major Crimes states that “several reports have been rejected for review”, but does not clarify which or what revisions.
Try talking to the medical expert’s office
In addition, the documents reveal an exchange of emails after Prude’s death at Strong Memorial Hospital, where Lieutenant Perkowski tried to talk to the medical expert’s office before Prude’s autopsy.
“I assume your office will perform the autopsy,” Perkowski wrote to Julie Luedke, a confidential assistant to the Monroe County medical expert, on March 31. “Can we talk to you before you start this?”
“It’s somewhat sensitive because he was in the police force when he was sent to the hospital,” Perkovski continued. “I was on stage and I have all the details for you.”
In response, Luedke requested relevant reports of incidents that Perkovski said were on the way. He then said again that he had “information about the past” and offered to come and meet with the medical expert. Luedke replied, saying he would call Perkovski.
A Monroe County medical expert eventually ruled Prude’s death a murder. CNN turned to the medical expert’s office for comment.
Mazzeo, chairman of the police union, said this was probably standard interaction.
“The medical expert has to have the information and ask a lot of information based on the context of what happened,” he said.
“I did not see any of these emails until they were released. But I tell you that the medical expert always wants this kind of information and major crimes to work with the minister’s office on any murder or investigation.”
Mazzeo said the union would provide representation to officials involved in the case, and plans to announce the names of those lawyers as early as Friday.
He also acknowledged the mistakes between the police and the city administration.
“I’m shocked and I have no reason why they did it this way. And obviously the boss paid the price for it, but I’m inclined to believe that there are too many falling boys here. And we don’t really understand the root of the problem,” he said. .
“Why would any of us want to go through what we’re going through now? You know, public trust is important and it’s very difficult for the police to work anyway. Why make stupid mistakes or deal with things that way. It doesn’t make sense. And leadership needs to be called into question. “
CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.