Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Caucus calls for county level Prude investigation, new unit of peace officers

Max Schulte
Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell.

Ernest Flagler-Mitchell of the Monroe County Legislature said Wednesday that he wants to know why news of Prude’s death didn’t reach him and other county leaders earlier. Flagler-Mitchell and the other members of the legislature’s Black and Asian caucus requested that Legislature President Joe Carbone investigate the death of Daniel Prude and the county’s role in the events that followed.

“We’ll find out who knew what, why it didn’t get to everybody, and we weren’t as transparent. And to make sure that we fix any broken systems that is in the county,” said Flagler Mitchell. 

“And to come up with an action plan to clearly reflect what we’ve seen and how much we care about fixing the issue in general.”

State and City investigations into Prude’s death are happening too.

In March, Prude’s brother Joe contacted 911 with concerns about Prude’s mental state. A few hours later Rochester Police body camera footage showed him suffocating while nude near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Samuel McCree Way. He died a few days later.

The county Medical Examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide and District Attorney Sandra Doorley informed the state attorney general’s office about Prude’s death. It didn’t become public until early this month.

Flagler-Mitchell applauds County Executive Adam Bello’s expansion of the Forensic Intervention Team. The City of Rochester and the county have pledged $650,000 a year to the program which handles mental health and addiction calls a 24/7 operation.

But Flagler Mitchell said he wants to take it a step further. He said he’s discussed the creation of an unarmed mental health unit of peace officers with Sheriff Todd Baxter. 

“If they need to arrest they would know how to arrest them properly but a lot of times it's just a conversation,” said Flagler-Mitchell

Flagler-Mitchell said he expects to discuss the unit further with Baxtor and county leaders in the coming months.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.