Washington – The mayor of Rochester, New York, has promised to reform the police as protests continue over the death of a black man in police custody.
Daniel Prude died in March after officers put him in a “spit hood” designed to protect police from detainees’ saliva.
Footage of the incident was released on Wednesday, sparking days of protests.
Mayor Lovely Warren announced a series of changes to policing in “the coming weeks, months and years”.
Seven police officers have been suspended over the incident.
On Saturday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a grand jury would be formed to investigate the death of 41-year-old Prude.
Prude’s death came two months before the death of George Floyd, whose killing while in police custody sparked global outrage and demonstrations against police brutality and racism.
Warren said the crisis intervention team and its budget would move from police department to the youth and recreation services department.
Prude suffered from mental health issues and Warren addressed that aspect.
“We had a human being in a need of help, in need of compassion. In that moment, we had an opportunity to protect him,” the mayor said at a news conference on Sunday.
“We have to own the fact that in the moment, we did not do that.”