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Officials in Rochester, N.Y., Tried to Withhold Information About Daniel Prude’s Death, Documents Show

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A makeshift memorial for Daniel Prude is seen prior to a march on September 06, 2020 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
A makeshift memorial for Daniel Prude is seen prior to a march on September 06, 2020 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

A new development has risen from the incident involving Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old Black man who died at the hands of Rochester police. Documents released by the city earlier this week revealed that officials allegedly attempted to withhold information for months about his death.

What We Know:

  • Prude was detained by law enforcement on March 23rd as a result of a mental breakdown he was having. Unfortunately, he died due to “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” according to a medical examiner. His death has since been ruled a homicide. Footage of the incident finally surfaced recently and drew heavy criticism and outrage from protesters in an already unstable social environment in the country.
  • Many of the documents highlighted the actions by heads in the police department and implied that law enforcement tried to cover up what had happened. The documents were released Monday as Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced she was relieving Police Chief La’Ron Singletary of his command, among a few other officials, two weeks ahead of his planned retirement.
  • Moreover, these documents ended up questioning the major points of the cities argument on the topic for the past few weeks. Some of those points being why Prude’s death was not immediately after it happened and who was trying to keep it private. “We certainly do not want people to misinterpret the officers’ actions and conflate this incident with any recent killings of unarmed Black men by law enforcement nationally,” Deputy Police Chief Mark Simmons said to a colleague in June.

“That would simply be a false narrative, and could create animosity and potentially violent blowback in this community as a result,” he continued.

  • This development ended up proving the family’s earlier accusations against authorities of trying to hide the evidence. As a result, Mayor Warren prematurely relieved the city’s police chief on Monday. The investigation, which is still ongoing, has already affirmed that several law enforcement and officials did not handle Prude’s death appropriately and lied to the public by withholding information.
  • “This initial look has shown what so many have suspected, that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department,” stated Warren. “One that views everything through the eyes of the badge and not the citizens we serve. It shows that Mr. Prude’s death was not taken as seriously as it should have been by those who reviewed the case throughout City government at every level.”

Within the past two weeks, the city of Rochester has undergone some changes in its police department. Warren spoke in a news conference stating various police reforms will be established to avoid future incidents such as these. Police department investigator Jacqueline Shuman has yet to comment further on the matter.

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Javier Garay is Media & News SVCS Intern at UnmutedCo. He is currently enrolled in the University of North Georgia seeking a bachelor's degree in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. Javier writes for Black News Alerts (BNA) along with social media management for both BNA and BossFM, and is a part of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

Crime

Store Security Guard Stabbed 27 Times After Asking Sisters to Wear Masks

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Chicago Police Department at the scene of the crime over the weekend. (Image via ABC7 Chicago)

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly exhausted many people, but one unfortunate store security guard in Chicago was allegedly stabbed 27 times after asking two women to wear masks while shopping. According to the Associated Press, both women were revealed to be siblings and are being held without bond.

What We Know:

  • The despicable attack occurred late Sunday by 21-year-old Jessica Hill and 18-year-old Jayla Hill. The aftermath left a 32-year-old victim hospitalized in critical condition, stated police spokeswoman Karie James.
  • An argument broke out after one of the women rejected the guard’s simple request to wear masks in the store. Leading up to the fight, the guard had reached toward Jayla Hill’s cell phone when she said she was calling someone to “kick his a**.” Jessica Hill then threw a trash can into the face of the guard, who is 6-foot-5, and at this point is when the sisters began their ruthless attack.
  •  It quickly became physical when one of the women punched the man. Jessica Hill then allegedly pulled out a knife from her back pocket and proceed to mercilessly stab the man as Jayla Hill held him in place by his hair. The man received injuries to his chest, back, and arms.
Jessica and Jayla Hill (CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT VIA AP)

Jessica and Jayla Hill (CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT VIA AP)

  • As soon as the situation ended, both parties were escorted to nearby hospitals. James said the women were arrested at the scene of the crime and were treated for “minor lacerations,” while the victim was sent away in critical condition.
  • The case was heard over a bond hearing on Tuesday with Cook County Circuit Judge Mary C. Marubio present. The women’s court-appointed attorney is claiming that the stabbing was self-defense, and that both sisters have bipolar disorder. Prosecutors have said that the security guard never even approached either woman or escalated the situation.

The sisters now are being held without bail on attempted murder charges, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. No further comments or details have been provided by the Chicago Police Department or Cook County Court.

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Crime

Florida Woman Used Tire Iron to Beat 3-Year-Old Boy to Death

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Te'Lea JeffersonLeon County Detention Facility

Police in north Florida have arrested a woman accused of repeatedly beating a 3-year-old boy with a tire iron before he died.

What We Know:

  • Tallahassee police state 23-year-old Te’Lea Jefferson is charged with murder and aggravated battery for the toddler’s death.
  • As stated by Tallahassee Democrat, Jefferson took the non-responsive boy to the emergency room located at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, according to records at 6:58 p.m., with critical injury to his head and face. Two minutes later, he was pronounced dead.
  • WCTV reported that Jefferson told officers the little boy was standing on the sink while brushing his teeth when he fell. She insisted he hit his head on the toilet, and broken pieces of porcelain produced cuts on the boy’s body.
  • The arrest affidavit states the toddler’s damages were not compatible with a fall due to the child having severe cuts on his face and hands, along with bruises on his arms and legs. There were also signs of older wounds on his torso and shoulder.
  • After police said the events stated by Jefferson didn’t add up, she reportedly confessed she beat the boy because he wouldn’t stop standing on the sink.
  • The arrest report mentions she threw the tire iron at him and confessed to using it to hit the child numerous times, including after he tried to run away. She then informed the police she hid the tire iron outside of the home.
  • Investigators said Jefferson also revealed that she physically punished the boy before, telling officers he was stubborn. The majority of the time required more strikes or blows than his older sibling, the arrest report mentions. Police state she also assumed that the little boy was possibly already dead before driving him to the hospital.
  • Reports state that Jefferson lived with the victim and his 6-year-old brother, both of whom endured abuse in the past.

A judge has ordered Jefferson to be held without bond. Jefferson is expected to appear in court again on Thursday.

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Crime

Makers of Oxycontin to Plead Guilty to 3 Charges as Part of $8 Billion Lawsuit

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(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its part in creating the nation’s opioid crisis and will pay more than $8 billion and shut down the company.

What We Know:

  • The charges involve conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws. The money will be used for opioid treatment and abatement programs. The privately held company has accepted to pay a $3.5 billion fine and relinquish an extra $2 billion in past profits, in addition to the $2.8 billion it agreed to pay in civil liability.
  • The company does not have $8 billion in cash handy to pay the fines. So Purdue will be terminated as part of the settlement, and its assets will be used to create a new “public benefit company” controlled by a trust or similar item designed for the benefit of the American public.

  • The Justice Department said it would perform entirely in the public interest rather than to maximize profits. Its projected earnings will go to paying the fines and penalties, which in turn will be used to battle the opioid crisis.
  • That new company will keep producing painkillers such as OxyContin and drugs to deal with opioid overdose. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who published the settlement, defended the new company’s plans to continue to sell that drug, stating there are authorized uses for painkillers such as OxyContin.
  • The idea is for the company to make life-saving overdose rescue drugs and medically assisted treatment medications available at steep discounts to communities dealing with the opioid crisis.
  • The company that had filed for bankruptcy in 2019 pleaded guilty to violating federal anti-kickback laws, as it paid doctors apparently to write more opioid prescriptions.
  • The Justice Department also reached a separate $225 million civil settlement with the former owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family. Although, the Sackler family, as well as other current and former employees and owners of the company, face the chance that federal criminal charges will be filed against them.
  • Purdue Chairman Steve Miller, who joined Purdue in 2018, stated:

“Purdue deeply regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct detailed by the Department of Justice.” “Purdue today is a very different company. We have made significant changes to our leadership, operations, governance, and oversight.”

This proposal will be executed as quickly as possible to help address the needs of people who suffer from opioid addiction and abuse.

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