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Warren, acting RPD Chief Simmons subpoenaed in Prude investigation

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The office of Mayor Lovely Warren has been subpoenaed as part of an investigation initiated by into the death of Daniel Prude.

The subpoena to Warren was one of four issued by City Council Monday and sent out by the Manhattan-based law firm it has hired to investigate the city and Rochester Police Department's response to and handling of Prude's death. Attorneys at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel also sent subpoenas to City Council President Loretta Scott, Municipal Attorney Yvette Chancellor Green, and acting RPD Chief Mark Simmons.

Last week, City Council authorized Scott the authority to issue the subpoenas and any others deemed necessary by its hired attorneys.

The four subpoenas are expansive, with requests made for all documentation related to Prude, records of conversations across departments, and documents outlining police procedure.

Along with information on Prude, the subpoenas requested information on how RPD communicated with other city departments about incidents where police used force. Specifically, the subpoenas ask for information on how incidents involving Christopher Pate and Richard Gregory Davis were relayed from RPD to the law office and mayor’s office.
Daniel Prude was 41 when he died March 30, 2020. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Daniel Prude was 41 when he died March 30, 2020.

Pate was assaulted by officer Michael Sippel in 2018, and Davis died after being tased by Officer Thomas Frye in 2015. Sippel was sentenced to three years probation for the assault in 2019. Frye currently serves as an RPD officer.

Celli, who also represents City Council in ongoing litigation surrounding the creation of the Police Accountability Board, is joined in the investigation by Linda Kingsley, who served as the city’s counsel from 1994 to 2005, and Scout Katovich, another attorney at the firm who formerly worked for the New York Civil Liberties Union.

In a news conference Friday, Celli said the goal of the investigation is to establish a clear timeline of events and from there determine if any officials made public or private statements that were inconsistent with what was known at the time. He added that, in blunter terms, the investigation is meant to determine whether there was a cover up of Prude's death at the hands or Rochester police officers.

While there is no set timeline for the investigation to complete, Celli said he hopes to have a final report by the end of the year.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or gino@rochester-citynews.com.

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