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Independent investigation into Daniel Prude’s death advances

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester City Council Friday gave investigators the power to subpoena city departments and others as part of an independent investigation into the suffocation death of Daniel Prude.

The council, which authorized the investigation Tuesday, unanimously approved the measure without discussion during a special session over videoconference.

Video taken in March and made public by Prude’s family Sept. 4 shows Prude handcuffed and naked with a spit hood over his head as an officer pushes his face against the street while another officer presses a knee to his back. The officers held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. He was taken off life support a week later.

Emails released Monday showed Rochester police commanders urged city officials to hold off on publicly releasing the body camera footage because they feared violent blowback if the video came out during nationwide protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

READ MORE: Rochester police chief fired in fallout over Prude death

The City Council voted Tuesday to begin an independent review of internal communications, processes and procedures that will be separate from any other investigation into Prude’s death. It will be led by New York City attorney Andrew Celli Jr. and is expected to take three months.

The release of the video has sparked daily protests in Rochester. Organizers want the officers who interacted with Prude criminally charged and for Mayor Lovely Warren to resign.

Warren on Monday fired Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, who she said initially misled her about the circumstances of Prude’s death.

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