New York Attorney General, Letitia James, announces reforms concerning police-worn body cameras.
The details of the reform
According to James, the reforms are introduced to ensure the quick release of the incidents’ video footage. She said that under the new regulations, the victims’ families would also be allowed to see the footage. This didn’t exist before, as only law enforcement agencies had the authority to see the video footage.
The initiative is taken considering the delay in the release of the video footage of Prude’s death. Prude died in March. However, the video of the incident was released this month. James continued that she was outraged when she saw the footage of Prude’s death. After watching the video, she had no other choice than to support the Rochester community’s demand for change.
Daniel Prude, a 41-year old Black man, died in March after some police officers pressed his head with a bag. In the footage, Prude could be seen pressed against the ground with seven officers surrounding him. Because of the decreased Oxygen supply, Daniel fainted on the spot. He was taken to the hospital but couldn’t survive and died a week later.
What the catalyst for the new reforms was
Monroe County medical examiner confirmed that Prude’s death was due to “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
According to James, remarkable progress has occurred in Prude’s case. All the police officers who were involved, including Rochester’s police chief, have been suspended.
The Rochester City Council has also started the investigation of the case. The Council summoned all associated departments, including the Police department and Mayor office for “independent investigation into the internal communications, processes, and procedures that took place related to the death of Daniel Prude” and grants authority to “investigate all city departments including the right to review records and papers.”
The Council said that New York law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, and Andrew G. Celli Jr would collaborate to ensure the thorough and just investigations.
“We’re going to go much deeper than the deputy mayor did, and we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” said Andrew G. Celli.
According to the President of City Council, Loretta Scott, the team will investigate the case by gathering testimonies from witnesses. The team will explore the incident’s timeline by examining all emails, messages, and texts among different departments.