Footage of Prude's death raises questions of a possible cover-up and has turned Rochester into the latest flashpoint in a US summer of protests, first sparked by George Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody.
The mayor of Rochester, New York, has fired the city's police chief and suspended two officials over the handling of the asphyxiation death of Daniel Prude in police custody.
Mayor Lovely Warren fired Police Chief La'Ron Singletary on Monday and called for a federal review of the New York state case.
Video footage, released by Prude's family, showed officers using a mesh hood and pinning the 41-year-old Black man to the pavement during the March arrest.
Prude, who was unarmed and suffering from a psychotic episode at the time, lost consciousness while he was held down and died in a hospital a week later.
The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by asphyxiation, with the drug PCP a contributing factor.
The footage has raised questions of a possible cover-up and turned Rochester into the latest flashpoint in a summer of protests over racial injustice and policing first sparked by George Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody.
"We have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department, one that views everything through the eyes of the badge and not the citizens that we serve," Warren said during a news conference.
"It shows that Mr. Prude's death was not taken as seriously as it should have been."
Warren also announced that she also suspended City Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin and Communications Director Justin Roj without pay for 30 days for "failure to act, inform and follow policy and procedures."
Warren said she made the decision to terminate Singletary and suspend Curtin and Roj after reading an internal review of the case.
"Never again can we allow any man or woman to needlessly die in police custody nor can we treat the review of a case as carelessly as we have done with this case," she said.
Civil rights investigation
Warren called on the US Attorney General's office to conduct an investigation to determine if Prude's civil rights were violated.
She also directed the city's Office of Public Integrity to investigate and determine if she or any city employee violated city policies or ethical standards.
Singletary resigned last Tuesday along with his command staff, saying there had been a “mischaracterisation and politicization” of his actions following the death of Prude in police custody.
At the time Mayor Warren told a City Council meeting that she had not asked Singletary to resign.
Warren added, there was "information that was brought to light today that I have not previously seen before."
It was unclear when the resignations were to take effect.
Seven police officers involved in the arrest were suspended on September 3, shortly after protests erupted following the release of the video of Prude's arrest.
Warren announced the suspension of the officers at a press conference saying, “Mr. Daniel Prude was failed by the police department, our mental health care system, our society and he was failed by me."
Letitia James, New York state's top prosecutor, said an investigation was underway.