An internal investigation by the Rochester Police Department has determined that only one of the seven officers suspended for their role in Daniel Proud’s death in 2020 could face possible disciplinary action.
Officer Mark Vaughan has been charged with “departmental charges,” the police department announced in a statement Thursday night. The statement did not say whether Von would face any charges, what the disciplinary action might be, or if he was employed by the department.
Proud, a 411-year-old black man from Chicago, died in March 2020 after being restrained and suffocated by New York police during a mental health crisis.
In body-wearing camera footage released by the department, Vaughn is shown using a push-up-like position to block Proud’s head against the sidewalk. This is known as segmenting technique.
The department said in a statement that it fully supports Officer Vaughan’s due process and his right to defend himself against the allegations, which did not yield any pre-determined results. “A formal hearing will be scheduled in the future.”
No other official will be held responsible for the incident.
Punitive action could be taken under the union agreement on the final day – about 18 months after the incident – the city provided its decision in an email statement when the business closed without a decision.
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The decision on whether to bring any departmental charge was taken in April. Then, in June, interim police chief Cynthia Harriet-Sullivan told the city council that she expected a decision in early July.
Mayor Lovely Warren did not immediately comment on the RPD’s decision Thursday night. He had previously expressed outrage at Vaughan’s actions, calling his behavior “unacceptable” in a message to then-Chief Lauren Singlettari in August 2020.
When Proud was fired from the City Council’s fact-finding investigation into handling the case, Warren said, “If Officer Vaughn hadn’t been there that day, I really believe Daniel Proud would still be alive.”
Alone, Warren recalled in his testimony that he described Prud’s death as a homicide and favored dismissal of Vaughan in particular.
In a lawsuit filed by Pruder’s family, city attorneys have largely defended police actions. Lawyers say Vaughn used a restraint tactic that taught police to “hold Mr. Proud’s head in order to stop Mr. Proud from trying to stand up.”
Vaughan’s union-hired attorney, David Rothenberg, declined to comment.