MetroFocus: September 8, 2020

WHAT HAPPENED TO DANIEL PRUDE
Last night was the 6th night of protests in Rochester where calls for justice over Daniel Prude’s death continue. The clashes with cops ignited by the release of bodycam footage showing officers covered his head in a “spit hood” and held him to the ground before he stopped breathing. His family says he was having a mental health episode on March 23 when they called the Rochester PD for help. Instead, police actions led to his death. The coroner ruled it a homicide. So why did it take so long for the case to become public? As New York Attorney General Letitia James announces she’ll set up a grand jury to consider evidence, the city of Rochester announces more resources into mental health services as officials call for statewide legislation that they’ll call “Daniel’s Law” which will demand that police aren’t automatically the first responds to mental health calls. We examine the latest on the fatal incident that came just two months before George Floyd’s very similar death.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' SPECIAL REPORT.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

GEORGE FLOYD, BRIAEONNA TAYLOR, JACOB BLAKE AND NOW DANIEL PRUDE.

THE LIST OF BLACK AMERICANS KILLED OR INJURED BY POLICE CONTINUES TO GROW, FUELING NATIONAL OUTRAGE AND PROTESTS AS WELL AS DEMANDS FOR SYSTEMIC REFORM.

THE LATEST TRAGEDY WE'RE LEARNING ABOUT UNFOLDED RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK IN ROCHESTER.

THAT'S WHERE BACK IN MARCH DANIEL PRUDE DIED AFTER POLICE PLACED A HOOD OVER HIS HEAD INTENDED TO KEEP HIM FROM SPITTING AND PINNED HIM TO THE PAVEMENT WHILE HANDCUFFED.

PRUDE WAS NAKED AND REPORTEDLY UNARMED AND SUFFERING FROM MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.

HIS DEATH, RULED A HOMICIDE, DIDN'T RECEIVE NATIONAL ATTENTION UNTIL LAST WEEK WHEN HIS FAMILY RELEASED BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE OF THE INCIDENT WHICH THEY'RE CALLING A COLD-BLOODED MURDER.

SEVEN ROCHESTER POLICE OFFICERS HAVE SINCE BEEN SUSPENDED.

WHILE SOME LOCAL OFFICIALS HAVE DENIED ACCUSATIONS OF A COVERUP, CRITICS SAY WHAT HAPPENED TO PRUDE WAS NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT AND INDICATIVE OF MUCH LARGER PROBLEMS.

FOR MORE ON THIS CASE, THE INVESTIGATION AND WHAT'S BEING DONE TO ADDRESS POLICE MISCONDUCT, WE'RE JOINED TODAY BY MARY LUPIAN, AN ACTIVIST TURNED ROCHESTER COUNCIL MEMBER WHO REPRESENTS THE CITY'S EAST DISTRICT.

MARY, WELCOME.

AND WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY DANIELLE PONDER.

SHE'S A SPECIAL ASSISTANT, PUBLIC DEFENDER AND THE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION OFFICER WITH THE MONROE PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE.

WELCOME DANIELLE.

THANK YOU.

AND WE'RE ALSO JOINED TODAY BY GINO FANELLI, A JOURNALIST FOR THE ROCHESTER CITY NEWSPAPER, 50 YEARS OF ROCHESTER POLICE REFORM YIELDED NO RETURNS.

WELCOME, GINO.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

CERTAINLY.

I WANT TO START BY GETTING THE REACTION OF ALL THIS NATIONAL ATTENTION FOCUSED ON ROCHESTER NOW.

GINO, I WANT TO START WITH YOU WITH -- SINCE YOU'VE BEEN COVERING THIS STORY, OF COURSE, SETTING THE TONE FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH ROCHESTER.

WHAT IS THE MOOD IN THE CITY LIKE RIGHT NOW?

ROCHESTER FIRST BEGAN ITS PROTESTS AFTER GEORGE FLOYD.

THERE HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT PROTESTS HERE SINCE THEN.

THERE'S A LONG HISTORY OF ROCHESTER POLICE MISCONDUCT THAT HAS HAPPENED HERE THAT HAS GAINED WIDESPREAD ATTENTION ACROSS THE CITY.

WE'RE NOW IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT, BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S NECESSARILY CHANGED THE AT TUTDS OF HOW A LOT OF PEOPLE ALREADY FEEL HERE, THAT THERE HAS BEEN A LONG-STANDING HISTORY OF POLICE MISCONDUCT, A LONG-STANDING PUSH FOR REFORM.

BUT WE HAVEN'T REALLY SEEN ANY SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES, AND I THINK PEOPLE ARE ANGRY AND THEY'RE TIRED AND FOR GOOD REASON, THAT WE KEEP HAVING TO GO THROUGH THESE SAME PAINFUL SCENARIOS OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

IT'S OFTEN FEELS LIKE SCREAMING INTO THE ABYSS, THAT IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY BRING ANY KIND OF REAL TANGIBLE RESULTS.

SO RIGHT NOW WE'RE COMING UP ON SIX DAYS OF PROTESTS SINCE THE PRUDE VIDEO CAME OUT.

THEY'RE GOING TO CONTINUE FOR QUITE A WHILE LIKELY.

THERE'S A LOT OF ENERGY GOING THROUGH THE CITY RIGHT NOW.

IT'S BEEN ALMOST ENTIRELY PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN REACTED TO WITH EXTREME FORCE BY THE POLICE ON SEVERAL NIGHTS.

THERE'S BEEN ONE NIGHT WHERE THERE REALLY HASN'T BEEN A POLICE CONFRONTATION AND THERE WAS A REASON FOR THAT.

IT'S JUST JARRING CONSTANTLY.

I THINK THE ENTIRE CITY IS IN REAL EMOTIONAL TURMOIL RIGHT NOW.

IT'S GOING TO BE FOR A WHILE.

DANIELLE, I'D LOVE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS AS WELL, ESPECIALLY COMING FROM THE MONROE COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDERS OFFICE.

WHAT HAS THIS INCIDENT DONE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE TO THE MOOD OR THE FABRIC OF THE ROCHESTER COMMUNITY?

YOU KNOW, I THINK WE ALL HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING OR VICTIM OF THE SYSTEMIC RACISM THAT EXISTS IN ROCHESTER.

THIS WAS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOW BEHIND OUR CITY IS WHEN IT COMES TO PUTTING FORTH PROGRESSIVE IDEAS AND DISMANTLING INSTITUTIONAL RACISM.

I THINK THIS ONE WAS JUST SO SHOCKING BECAUSE THERE'S NO WAY YOU COULD SEE THAT VIDEO AND NOT CRY OR JUST BE ANGRY.

SO WE HAVE A CITY THAT IS 40% AFRICAN-AMERICAN, HAS A VERY HIGH CHILD POVERTY RATE.

SO BLACK FOLKS IN THIS CITY HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING SINCE MY MOTHER WAS A YOUNG GIRL.

THIS IS JUST MORE INSULT TO INJURY, AND I THINK WE ALL FEEL THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AT THIS POINT.

OF COURSE.

COUNCIL MEMBER LUPIAN, JUST, AGAIN, YOUR THOUGHTS ON HAS THIS CHANGED OR IS THIS AN UNFORTUNATE CONTINUATION IN STRUGGLES THAT HAVE BEEN GOING ON IN ROCHESTER?

WHAT GINO AJUST SAID, THE STORY COVERS HOW WE HAD RIOTS IN '64 AND TROUBLE IN THE '90s.

EACH TIME WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT REFORM, REFORM, BUT IT HASN'T WORKED.

SO THIS TIME I'M REALLY HOPEFUL THAT THESE EVENTS WILL SPUR THE NEEDED CHANGE TO FUNDAMENTALLY REIMAGINE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE TO PROVIDE REAL PUBLIC SAFETY TO A COMMUNITY.

THAT'S ACTUALLY A PLACE WHERE I'D LIKE TO BUILD ON, AND THAT IS NEEDED CHANGE.

EVERYONE PRETTY MUCH ACROSS THE BOARD AGREES THAT CHANGE IS DEFINITELY NEEDED.

BUT THE WAYS TO GO ABOUT THAT, IF IT'S A FULL DEFENDING OF THE ROCHESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT, IF IT'S REFORM OF THE PROCHESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT, HAVE THERE BEEN GAINS?

HAVE THERE BEEN SETBACKS?

GINO, I'LL GO BACK TO YOU.

FROM WHAT THE REPORTING HAS BORNE OUT WHEN IT COMES TO BRINGING CHANGE TO THE WAY POLICING IS DONE IN ROCHESTER.

THE PIECE I WROTE I BEGAN WRITING ABOUT A MONTH AND A HALF AFTER THE PROTESTS AROUND GEORGE FLOYD BEGAN.

I STARTED WITH A SIMPLE QUESTION.

I KNOW WE'VE GONE DOWN THIS ROAD BEFORE, BUT DID WE ACTUALLY REALLY CHANGE ANYTHING?

WHAT I FOUND WAS THAT THE INITIAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE WAS DEN NEEK ISE HAWKINS, A BLACK W KILLED BY A ROCHESTER POLICE OFFICER IN 1965.

IT SPARKED WIDESPREAD PROTESTS HERE.

THERE WERE A TON OF RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY A COMMITTEE PUT TOGETHER.

MOST OF THEM WERE ADOPTED.

THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO REFORM POLICE AND DO A LOT OF THINGS.

AND DANIEL PRUDE CAME OUT AFTER THIS PIECE WAS ALREADY PUBLISHED.

THE QUESTION THAT WE HAD CHANGED ANYTHING REALLY WENT OUT THE WINDOW.

THE REPORTING SHOWS IN EXACT INSTANCES ON WHERE WE STAND ON MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS CALLS, WHERE WE STAND ON EDUCATION FOR OFFICERS, WHERE WE STAND ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT ISSUES WHEN IT COMES TO POLICING.

WE DIDN'T REALLY CHANGE ANYTHING FROM THE '70s.

THEN WE HAD THIS INCIDENT OF SOMETHING HORRIFIC HAPPENING.

WE HAVE TO REALLY RECOGNIZE THAT ANY ATTEMPTS WE MADE IN THE PAST TO CHANGE THESE THINGS HAVE NOT TAKEN FOR WHATEVER REASON, BUT THESE REFORM EFFORTS HAVE KIND OF JUST BEEN NOTHING.

THEY HAVE NOT REALLY AMOUNTED TO ANY SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE TO THE WAY POLICING IS DONE AND THE WAY MISCONDUCT HAS BEEN ABLE TO HAPPEN.

THERE'S SO MANY LABELS TO ALL OF THAT, EVERYTHING FROM THE HOUSING REQUIREMENTS FOR POLICE OFFICERS, WHICH IS SOMETHING WE SEE FOR A LOT OF URBAN CENTERS.

FIRST RESPONDERS DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO LIVE IN THE COMMUNITIES THAT THEY'RE SERVING AND ALSO THINGS OF WHO IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR INVESTIGATING MISCONDUCT?

THERE'S SO MANY LAYERS.

COUNCIL MEMBER LUPIAN, I WANTED TO TURN TO YOU AND ASK, WHAT IS IT THAT AT LEAST -- WHAT ARE THE TALKS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE SOME -- THERE IS SOME POTENTIAL LEGISLATION ON THE BOOKS, BUT, OF COURSE, IT NEEDS SUPPORT TO GO THROUGH.

SURE.

I'M NOT AWARE OF ANY LOCAL LEGISLATION THAT'S BEEN DRAFTED.

THE COMMUNITY IS ASKING FOR ALTERNATE RESPONSE TO MENTAL HEALTH CRISES, BEHAVIORAL CRISES, HOMELESSNESS, EVEN TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT.

BUT THE CRUX OF THIS SITUATION IS WE DO NOT NEEMD ARMED OFFICERS RESPONDING TO INSTANCES OF MENTAL HEALTH IN THIS COMMUNITY.

IF WE CAN AVOID THAT, WE TOENLLY WE CAN AVOID ANOTHER DANIEL PRUDE.

THE LEGISLATION, WE HOPE TO CALL IT DANIEL'S LAW, WOULD ESSENTIALLY DO THAT.

WE'RE IN TALKS BECAUSE MENTAL HEALTH ISN'T NECESSARILY THE CITY'S DOMAIN.

SO WE NEED TO BRING IN THE COUNTY AND WORK TOGETHER ON THIS.

WE HAVE IDENTIFIED SEVERAL PIECES THAT WE WOULD NEED TO HAVE IN PLACE THAT ALREADY EXIST IN ROCHESTER.

IT'S A MATTER OF MAKING SURE THOSE PIECES WORK TOGETHER, THAT THEY'RE COMPREHENSIVE AND THAT THEY'RE REALLY ADDRESSING -- IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR BLACK AND BROWN FOLKS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE A COMPASSIONATE RESPONSE THAT TREATS PEOPLE LIKE HUMANS AND WITH DIGNITY.

I DO WANT TO JUST CONTINUE ON DANIEL'S LAW FOR A MOMENT AND JUST ASK, WHILE I THINK SEVERAL PEOPLE ARE NOW REALIZING THAT IT IS WORTH HAVING MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS RESPOND TO A MENTAL HEALTH CALL, DOES THE LAW LEAVE ROOM FOR OR TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE FACT THAT POLICE COULD STILL BE PLAYING A ROLE IN SOME OF THESE CALLS, CONSIDERING THAT, IF YOU'RE A SOCIAL WORKER AND YOU DON'T KNOW IF, FOR EXAMPLE, IF SOMEONE IS IN A VIOLENT STATE OR IF THEY MIGHT HAVE ACCESS TO FIREARMS OR SOMETHING, IS THAT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD STILL BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION?

THAT'S A VERY COMMON THREAD THAT I'M HEARING.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE MODEL -- WITH THE CAHOOTS PROGRAM WHERE THEY WORK WITH A WHITE BREAD CLINIC, THEY'VE RESPONDED TO 30,000 CALLS IN THE LAST YEAR AND NEEDED BACKUP FOR 150 OF THEM.

IT'S A VERY, VERY SMALL -- A GROUP OF ABOUT 100 MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS -- EMERGENCY MENTAL HEALTH RESPONSE.

THEIR GROUP IS CALLED MENTAL HEALTH IMMEDIATE ACTION ALLIANCE.

THEY STATED THAT THEY REALLY DON'T BELIEVE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT IS NECESSARY.

IF IT BECOMES AN ISSUE, THEY CAN ALWAYS CALL FOR BACKUP, BUT IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO TRIAGE IT AT THE 911 LEVEL AND POTENTIALLY HAVE A SEPARATE NUMBER FOR FOLKS TO CALL SO THEY CAN DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANT THE ABILITY FOR POLICE TO RESPOND.

BUT WHEN YOU APPROACH IT WITH COMPASSION AND WITH UNDERSTANDING OF MENTAL HEALTH TRIGGERS, SITUATIONS DON'T BECOME VIOLENT.

SO OFTEN THE POLICE OFFICER THEMSELVES IS THE TRIGGER, JUST THE PERSON IN UNIFORM RESPONDING.

SO LECHLY WE REALLY DON'T HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE IN SEEING JUST HOW MENTAL HEALTH RESPONSE CAN DEESCALATE A SITUATION, BUT WE CAN LOOK TO OTHER CITIES LIKE PORTLAND, AUSTIN, EUGENE, THAT HAVE DECADES OF DATA OR ARE PILOTING THIS, TO LEARN FROM THEIR EXPERIENCE.

OKAY, OKAY.

DANIELLE, STICKING WITH, OF COURSE, THE IDEA OF POLICE REFORM AND HOW ANY COMMUNITY GOES ABOUT DOING THAT, I DO UNDERSTAND THAT THE CITY OF ROCHESTER HAD ATTEMPTED TO CREATE A PANEL OR I BELIEVE A COMMISSION WHO WOULD BEGIN TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT CREATE THIS SYSTEMIC RACISM.

I'M WONDERING, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU SEE AS FRUITFUL, AS SOMETHING THAT CAN ACTUALLY BEGIN TO MAKE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF CHANGE THAT IS NEEDED, OR IS THE PROBLEM FAR TOO WIDESPREAD AND SYSTEMIC FOR ONE PANEL TO EVEN BEGIN TO ADDRESS?

SO I THINK THAT'S A COMPLICATED QUESTION BECAUSE A LOT OF THINGS ARE CHANGING FOR THE RAYS COMMISSION.

WE'RE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND -- WE'RE NOT SURE IF WE STILL HAVE TRUST IN OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS BECAUSE THIS COMMISSION WAS DEVELOPED WHEN THEY KNEW A MAN WAS DEAD.

CHIEF SINGLETARY WAS ON THIS COMMISSION AS HEAD OF POLICING WHEN HE KNEW A MAN WAS DEAD.

NO ONE ON THE COMMISSION WAS INFORMED OF THIS.

I THINK THE RAY'S COMMISSION IS IN A SPACE RIGHT NOW WHERE WE ARE STILL TRYING TO REBUILD TRUST.

BUT WHO I TRULY BELIEVE IN IS THE ACTIVISTS WHO ARE ON THE GROUND WHO ARE MAKING THESE DEMANDS.

WE HAVE SOME POWERFUL LEADERS THAT ARE OUTSIDE OF THAT COMMISSION.

THE ACTIVISTS HAVE 2,000 PEOPLE BEHIND THEM.

THE RAY'S COMMISSION HAS 16 PEOPLE.

SO I'M INTERESTED IN LISTENING TO THE ACTIVISTS.

THEY'RE PUTTING TOGETHER A PLAN WHICH IS GOING TO BE CALLED THE PEOPLE'S PLAN FOR PUBLIC SAFETY WHICH WILL LOOK AT ALTERNATIVES TO POLICING AND WHO FOLKS CAN CALL WHEN CERTAIN INCIDENTS HAPPEN.

I SAY ALL THAT TO SAY I THINK THE POWER IS ACTUALLY WITH THE GRASSROOTS COMMUNITY, NOT WITH THE APPOINTED COMMISSION BY OUR EXECUTIVE AND OUR MAYOR.

ACTUALLY, JUST FOR CLARIFICATION FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT BE FAMILIAR, THE RAY'S COMMISSION, RAY IS AN ACRONYM.

TELL OUR VIEWERS WHAT IT STANDS FOR.

YOU KNOW, I REALLY HAVE NO CLUE.

RARNL INSTRUCTURAL EQUITY.

I DO WANT TO CLARIFY AND SAY IT IS GOING TO BE UP TO THEM TO SHOW US THAT THIS COMMISSION CAN ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING.

THEY HAVEN'T GIVEN US THAT TRUST YET, SO I CAN'T SAY THAT IT'S ACTUALLY GOING TO HAVE POWER TO DO SOMETHING.

THEY HAVE TOLD US THAT, BUT THEY HAVEN'T SHOWED US.

SO I THINK IN THE NEXT COUPLE WEEKS, WE WILL SEE WHAT THE POWER OF THE RIE'S COMMISSION IS.

DANIELLE, YOU BRING UP AN EXCELLENT POINT THAT MAKES THIS EVEN MORE COMPLICATED.

THAT IS THE TIMELINE.

WHAT WE NOW KNOW IS DANIEL PRUDE PASSED MUCH -- FIRST OF ALL, THE POLICE WERE CALLED BACK IN MARCH.

THIS IS WHEN THIS INCIDENT HAPPENED AND IT WASN'T UNTIL AUGUST, THE END OF AUGUST THAT THE PUBLIC EVEN FOUND OUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED.

SO JUST TO SORT OF GIVE US A QUICK OVERVIEW OF WHAT HAS THE TIMELINE BEEN AND WHY THERE IS THIS MISTRUST GOING ON BETWEEN THE PUBLIC, PARTICULARLY ACTIVISTS AND ROCHESTER CITY GOVERNMENT, GINO, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD JUST FILL US IN ON WHAT THE TIMELINE HAS BEEN.

SURE.

DANIEL PRUDE WAS ORIGINALLY ARRESTED RPD ON MARCH 23rd.

HE DIED A WEEK LATER.

THERE WAS AN ATTORNEY GENERAL THAT OPENED AN INVESTIGATION.

THIS IS WHERE THINGS GO OFF THE RAILS AS FAR AS WHO YOU REALLY WANT TO BELIEVE IN THESE SCENARIOS.

MAYOR LOVELY WARREN CLAIMS THAT SHE KNEW THERE WAS AN INVESTIGATION BUT THE CHIEF HAD TOLD HER IT WAS AN OVERDOSE AND SHE HADN'T SEEN THE VIDEO UNTIL AUGUST 4th WHICH MANY PEOPLE ARE NOW ASKING WHY DIDN'T YOU SPEAK ABOUT IT.

EVEN IF THAT IS ENTIRELY TRUE, WHY DIDN'T YOU SPEAK ABOUT IT IN THE MONTH AFTER.

SO CORPORATE COUNSEL FOR THE CITY, TIM CURTAIN SAID HE ADVISED THE MAYOR NOT TO TALK ABOUT IT UNTIL THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S INVESTIGATION HAD COMPLETED.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE SAID THEY NEVER STOPPED THE CITY FROM DOING AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AND REALLY PUT NO BARS ON THEM SPEAKING ABOUT IT AT ALL.

THEN WE HAVE MIKE MAZ I DON'T, THE THIRD PERSON ON THE TOP OF THE LEADERSHIP HERE THAT'S CRITICAL.

HE CLAIMS HE KNEW THERE WAS AN INVESTIGATION BUT KNEW NOTHING ABOUT IT, NO DETAILS AND ONLY FOUND OUT ABOUT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED WHEN THE VIDEO WAS RELEASED LAST WEEK.

SO WE HAVE THIS SITUATION THAT'S VERY MUCH A HE SAID-SHE SAID SCENARIO.

THE CHIEF TOLD THE MAYOR THIS, AND THE MAYOR SAID THIS AND DIDN'T DO THIS.

THE LOCUST CLUB PRESIDENT WAS KEPT OUT OF THE EQUATION ENTIRELY.

THE QUESTION IS WHO DO YOU WANT TO BELIEVE?

YOU CAN PICK YOUR OWN NARRATIVE HERE, AND WE REALLY DON'T KNOW HOW IT PLAYED OUT YET.

WE REALLY DON'T KNOW THE BACKGROUND THAT HAPPENED THERE.

SO WHAT HAS THAT DONE TO I GUESS THE PUBLIC TRUST OF GOVERNMENT?

THE FACT THAT YOU CAN PICK YOUR OWN NARRATIVE SOUNDS VERY, VERY DANGEROUS, ESPECIALLY IN SUCH AN EMOTIONALLY CHARGED SITUATION.

WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN SO FAR FROM REPORTING, GINO?

AS ANGRY AS PEOPLE ARE THAT ANOTHER BLACK MAN WAS KILLED IN POLICE CUSTODY, THEY'RE JUST AS ANGRY THAT THEY CAN'T TRUST ANY OF THEIR CITY LEADERS ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

AGAIN, THIS SEEMS SO PROBLEMATIC AND CONFUSING CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT, AS WE JUST DISCUSSED, THE RAY'S COMMISSION SORT OF CAME INTO EXISTENCE AS THE TEMPERATURE AROUND ISSUES OF RACE AND STRUCTURAL INEQUITIES AND POLICING WAS BEING TURNED UP AFTER THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD.

DANIELLE, I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOU AND GET YOUR TAKE ON WHERE THIS LEAVES THE CITY OF ROCHESTER.

WHAT IS IT THAT -- YOU WERE SAYING A LOT OF THE WORK AND A LOT OF THE EMPHASIS RIGHT NOW IS BEHIND THE ACTIVISTS.

WHAT IS IT THAT THEY'RE ASKING FOR OR DEMANDING?

SO THEY'RE ASKING FOR THE PROSECUTION -- THE FIRING AND THE PROSECUTION OF THE SEVEN OFFICERS THAT ARE INVOLVED.

THEY'RE ALSO ASKING THAT THE CHARGES BE DROPPED THAT WERE PUT ON PROTESTERS.

WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO WERE PEACEFULLY PROTESTING WHO WERE ARRESTED FOR DISORDERLY CONDUCT OR FOR UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY.

THEY STILL HAVE PENDING CHARGES AGAINST THEM.

THEY'RE ALSO ASKING FOR A DEFUNDING OF THE POLICE AND IMMEDIATELY DeMILLE TIRIZING POLICE.

I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW TERRIFYING IT WAS FOR THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE TO BE STUCK ON A BRIDGE AS OFFICERS THROW TEARGAS AT US.

I HAD MY 10-YEAR-OLD NEPHEW OUT THERE.

IT WAS HIS FIRST PROTEST.

WE'RE ASKING FOR AN IMMEDIATE DeMILLE TERRORIZATION OF OUR POLICE DEPARTMENT AND DEFUNDING OF POLICE AND JAILS AND REINVESTING IN THE BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITY.

WHAT THE ACTIVISTS ASKED FOR YESTERDAY IS A RESIGNATION OF MAYOR LOVELY AND CHIEF SINGLE TEAR.

THEY BELIEVE THEIR TRUST HAS DEEMED THEM INCAPABLE OF PROTECTING OUR CITY OR TELLING THE TRUTH TO OUR CITY.

WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO KNOW THAT OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE TELLING US AS IT IS.

THIS PING-PONG BACK AND FORTH OF BLAME HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE.

THAT IS THE --

OKAY.

THE RESIGNATION OF MAYOR WARREN.

THAT WOULD BE HUGE.

COUNCILMEMBER, AS A MEMBER OF CITY GOVERNMENT, YOU MENTIONED DANIEL'S LAW AND THAT SEEMS TO SORT OF FIT IN WITH WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE TALK ABOUT WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT DEFUNDING THE POLICE.

IS THAT ENOUGH, OR DOES MORE NEED TO HAPPEN?

DOES IT NEED TO GO AS FAR AS THE RESIGNATION OF ALL THE LEADERS OF CITY GOVERNMENT?

WELL, I WILL SAY WITH DANIEL'S LAW, I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT THE MONEY COME FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.

WE CAN'T RELY ON GRANTS AND OTHER SOURCES OF FUNDING WHICH IS KIND OF WHAT I'M HEARING RIGHT NOW.

I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT IT'S PAIRED WITH THE REDUCTION OF OFFICERS ON THE STREET AND MONEY FROM THE POLICE BUDGET.

THE CITY COUNCIL IS GOING TO BE HOLDING A HEARING AND INVESTIGATION INTO WHO KNEW WHAT WHEN AND TO REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED AND THEN, OF COURSE, WE'D WANT TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

BUT I WILL SAY, TOO, THERE IS ALSO DEMANDS FOR SOMETHING CALLED CARRY'S LAW, A WOMAN ON THE FORCE FOR MANY YEARS NAMED CARE YOEL, INTERVENED.

HER PARTNER WAS CHOKING A BLACK MAN WHO WAS IN HANDCUFFS AND SHE LOST HER JOB AND HER PENSION.

SO CARE YOEL'S LAW WOULD PROTECT OFFICERS WHO WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND IF THEY DON'T, THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO WORK IN NEW YORK STATE AS AN OFFICER AGAIN.

FROM WHAT I'M HEARING FROM PEOPLE ON THE FORCE, THE UNION IS A BIG ACTOR IN THIS WHERE, IF YOU SPEAK AGAINST A FELLOW OFFICER, EVEN IF YOU'RE WRONG, YOU'LL BE OSTRACIZED, THE UNION WILL PROTECT YOU.

THERE'S A REAL DISINCENTIVE TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

WE NEED TO ATTACK THIS FROM A COUPLE DIFFERENT ANGLES KNOWING IN THE SHORT TEAM WE NEED A PLACE FORCE THAT WE'RE SURE THEY'RE ABLE TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

AT LEAST WHAT I'M HEARING, WHAT YOU'RE PROPOSING DOES NOT INVOLVE COMPLETELY ABOLISHING THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, BUT DEFINITELY DRAWING DOWN THEIR BUDGET AND REALLOCATING THEIR FUNDS.

I HEARD DANIELLE SAY IT THE OTHER NIGHT, THIS ISN'T ABOUT SNAPPING OUR FINGERS AND WE WON'T HAVE A POLICE DEPARTMENT.

IT'S ABOUT CHIPPING AWAY AT THE ROLES THAT POLICE OFFICERS DON'T NEED TO HAVE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

WHEN WE INVEST IN THE COMMUNITY AND HEALTH CARE --

OKAY.

DO WE KNOW WHAT, IF ANY, KIND OF RESPONSE HAS BEEN FROM THE ROCHESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT?

GINO, I'LL GO BACK TO YOU AS A REPORTER, JUST TO SAY THAT ON THEIR BEHALF, WHAT HAS BEEN THEIR RESPONSE TO NOT ONLY HOW THEY'VE HANDLED THIS, BUT ALSO WHAT AT LEAST THEY'RE WILLING TO COME TO THE TABLE WITH, IF ANYTHING.

THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION.

AND I WISH I HAD A MORE SOLID ANSWER FOR YOU.

THERE'S -- IF WO-- IF WE'VE SEE ANYTHING IN RESPONSE FROM THE POLICE, IT'S RESPONDING TO THE PROTESTS.

THEY'VE RESPONDED WITH PEPPER BALLS AND TEARGAS.

WE HAVE TO ASK THE QUESTION OF, WHAT ARE THEY REALLY WILLING TO NEGOTIATE WHEN THAT'S THE RESPONSE TO PROTESTS ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY IS WITH POLICE BRUTALITY.

OKAY.

UNFORTUNATELY WE'RE COMING UP AT THE VERY END OF OUR TIME.

WE HAVE ABOUT TWO MINUTES LEFT.

SO DANIELLE, I JUST WANTED TO GO BACK TO YOU AND ASK, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE FOR ROCHESTER FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE BUT ALSO PERHAPS MAYBE EVEN LONG TERM.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR WHAT COMES OUT OF THIS?

I REALLY HOPE THAT OUR COMMUNITY REALLY LOSES THIS FEAR THAT IT HAS THAT WE MUST HAVE POLICE AT EVERYTHING AND REALLY EMBRACE THIS MOMENT IN TIME WHICH IS CALLING FOR US TO DO SOMETHING VERY TRANSFORMATIVE.

ONE OF MY BIGGEST PASSIONS IS DEFUNDING THE POLICE BECAUSE I THINK REFORM CAN NO LONGER BE THE ANSWER.

IT'S REALLY TIME TO DISMANTLE THAT SYSTEM.

I HEAR PEOPLE LISTENING, THEY'RE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.

I JUST THINK WE'RE AT A VERY POWERFUL TRANSFORMATIVE TIME IN OUR HISTORY AND I HOPE WE CAN REIMAGINE PUBLIC SAFETY TO A SYSTEM THAT DOESN'T MURDER BLACK PEOPLE.

COUNCILMEMBER LUPIAN, VERY QUICKLY A FEW SECONDS, YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT YOU HOPE COMES OUT OF THIS?

EXACTLY WHAT DANIELLE JUST SAID.

I HOPE THAT WE CAN REIMAGINE WHAT WE BELIEVE IS PUBLIC SAFETY AND REALLY INVEST IN THE INSTITUTIONS THAT BUILD UP OUR COMMUNITIES, THAT INVEST IN PEOPLE.

CRIME IS NOT AN INDIVIDUAL MORAL FAILING, IT'S A SOCIETAL ONE.

WE NEED TO INVEST IN THE PEOPLE, AND THAT CREATES TRUE PUBLIC SAFETY.

SO WE HOPE FOR A TRUE REDUCTION IN THE ROLE OF POLICE OUT OF THIS INCIDENT.

OF COURSE, WE'LL BE FOLLOWING THE STORY.

I WANT TO THANK ALL THREE OF MY GUEST, ROCHESTER COUNCILWOMAN MARY LUPIAN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

DANIELLE PONDER WITH THE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION OFFICER WITH THE MONROE COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDERS OFFICE AND REPORTER GINO FANELLI WITH THE ROCHESTER NEWSPAPER.

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING ME ON 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

ABSOLUTELY.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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