Seven US police officers have been suspended over the death of an unarmed black man who suffocated after being restrained.
Daniel Prude, who had mental health issues, died after being put in a “spit hood”, which is meant to protect officers from detainees’ saliva.
Announcing the suspension Rochester’s mayor, Lovely Warren, said systemic racism led to the death.
Mr Prude died in March but his story has only just been made public.
The 41-year-old’s death came two months before George Floyd’s killing, which sparked national and international protests against racism and police brutality. His arrest also bore some similarities to Mr Floyd’s, as both were pinned to the ground by officers.
The move to suspend the seven officers is the first disciplinary action since Mr Prude’s death.
Mayor Warren said at a news conference on Thursday: “I am suspending the officers in question today against council’s advice, and I urge the attorney general to complete her investigation.”
“Daniel Prude was failed by our police department, our mental healthcare system, our society and, he was failed by me,” she continued, adding that his death was proof “many of the challenges that we faced in the past are the same challenges that we face today”.
How did Daniel Prude die?
Mr Prude’s brother, Joe, has said he called police on 23 March as Daniel was showing acute mental health problems. When officers arrived, he had been running naked through the streets in a light snow.
Police body camera video obtained by the family shows Mr Prude lying on the ground as officers restrain him. Mr Prude can be seen complying with officers immediately.
He later becomes agitated, at times swearing at the officers who surround him and spitting, but he does not appear to offer any physical resistance, according to the footage.
An officer says that Mr Prude told them he has Covid-19, and they place the spit hood on him.
One officer can be seen pressing down on Mr Prude’s head with both hands, saying “stop spitting”. Mr Prude stops moving and goes quiet, and officers note he feels cold.
Paramedics are called and Mr Prude is taken to hospital in an ambulance. He was taken off life support a week later on 30 March.