Rochester Police Dept. Union Asks Court To Delay Start Of Disciplinary File Database

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The Rochester Police Union is suing the city of Rochester, New York, to delay the release of disciplinary records of the city’s police officers.

According to News10NBC, the union said there are numerous issues with the files and the union is  accessing the files to search through them. Mike Mazzeo, the president of the Rochester Police Locust club said the union is not trying to stop the information from being released, but is trying to make sure the information is accurate.

“We’re not seeking to stop the release of this information,” Mazzeo said. “We’re only looking at a reasonable time to review and to make sure the information is correct and reasonable.”

Mazzeo said the issues include problems with accessing the link, mistakes in the reviews and at least one person in the database who doesn’t work for the police department. Mazzeo added that his own file contained inaccurate information.

After the death of George Floyd (six years after the death of Eric Garner), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature moved to make police disciplinary files open to the public. In July, the city of Rochester announced it would create a database of police disciplinary files so citizens wouldn’t have to request individual files.

The files of 119 police officers are slated to be released, all for active duty police officers. The files, which were supposed to be available last Friday, now the city wants them published by Dec. 27. The Union’s suit wants to push back until every file is vetted by the individual officer.

The city and it’s police department came into the spotlight in September when body camera footage of Daniel Prude‘s death was released. Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, was suffering from a mental episode after ingesting PCP and walking naked in the streets. Police discovered Prude and held him face down on the pavement for more than two minutes. He died the night of March 23.

Prude’s death was later ruled a homicide. However, the news didn’t receive nationwide attention until September when body camera footage of the incident was released. The video showed Prude laying naked in the streets while police stood around telling jokes about Prude.

La’Ron Singletary, who was the Rochester police chief when the incident occurred in March, was fired in September by Mayor Lovely Warren after the footage was released and Singletary announced his retirement.

Last week, Singletary wrote in a claim of notice, typically a precursor to a lawsuit, that Mayor Warren urged him to omit facts and provide false information to back her claim that she didn’t learn key details of Prude’s death until September.

The former police chief’s notice of claim was included last week in the city council’s court petition seeking to enforce a subpoena for Singletary to testify and provide documents into the incident.