Reverend Lewis W. Stewart of New York said on Thursday that the officers and sergeant involved in the death of Daniel Prude should be fired, charged with homicide, and prosecuted. Prude was a 41-year-old Black man who died on March 30 of asphyxiation, seven days after a group of police officers put a hood over his head – ostensibly to prevent spitting – and then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, as seen on video of the incident which was recently released to the public.
Stewart also called for the people who surrounded him during Thursday’s news conference to have the “bogus” charges against them dropped, though did not specify what they had been arrested for. He went on to say that a commission was organized by the city a month ago to investigate structural racism in Rochester and Monroe County, but Stewart says they put in their own appointed people and not community activists, adding they were “half-stepping” with the action. He said they plan to establish a people’s commission to look into systemic racism on various topics including education, criminal justice, health care and gun violence.