Seven officers involved in the response to a call where a Black man was put in a hood and later died have been suspended, the mayor of Rochester, New York, announced Wednesday.
Mayor Lovely Warren said at a news conference the officers involved in the response to Daniel Prude were suspended with pay "against the advice of counsel."
Warren indicated she might be in for a fight with the local police union over the suspensions.
"I have never shied away from taking action and holding our police, or anyone, who fails in their duties to our community accountable," she said in a statement. "I understand that the union may sue me for taking these officers off our streets. They should feel free to do so."
The officers had stopped Prude, who was nude at the time, after 3 a.m. on March 23, according to police body camera video obtained by his family and released to the media. Officers cuffed him, placed him on the wet street face down, put a spit hood on him, and pushed his head into the asphalt and placed a knee on his back, the video appears to show.
Prude, 41, had told police he suffered from COVID-19, prompting officers to put the hood on his head, apparently to prevent him from spitting on them.
Prude went limp and appeared to stop breathing, according to the imagery and remarks from police and paramedics at the scene. He was hospitalized on life support and died seven days later, family and authorities said.
Prude's brother, Joe Prude, said he had been visiting from Chicago and suffered from mental illness. He said he called authorities the previous evening and that Prude was hospitalized briefly, but started acting out when he was released from a hospital after only about three hours.
The Rochester Police Locust Club, a union representing city officers, responded to the controversy Thursday.
"The Rochester Police Locust Club has concerns about the incident involving our members and Mr. Daniel Prude," it said in a statement. "We are in the process of gathering all relevant information available to us, and we will issue a statement when that is completed."