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To: Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo
Rochester’s police union president is defending officers who killed Daniel Prude–demand he resign
You are defending the Rochester police officers who mocked, suffocated, and eventually killed Daniel Prude as he lay on the ground, handcuffed, naked, and hooded. You have tried to justify the actions of these officers, saying they were simply following their training. If you can watch that video and see nothing wrong with what those officers did, it is clear you are unfit to lead police or serve the community. Your way of thinking and your actions are an obstacle to necessary accountability and reform. We call on you to resign.
Why is this important?
Not only is Rochester police union president Mike Mazzeo wrong to defend the officers who killed Daniel Prude – it’s his behavior and way of thinking that makes accountability for police and necessary reform impossible in Rochester, and across the country.
Rochester’s Mayor, Lovely Warren, is calling on Mazzeo to resign. Please add your voice to this petition to help us broaden the pressure for his removal.
Here is Mayor Warren’s statement:
“For 30 years, the problem with policing in Rochester are cops like Mike Mazzeo that watch the video of Daniel Prude’s death and see nothing wrong. Who believe there is nothing wrong with driving Mr. Prude’s head into the street. Who believe there is nothing wrong with other officers standing by, joking and failing to intervene while Mr. Prude is dying. Who think it’s fine to just casually ignore him as he takes his last breath, and then callously and falsely inform his brother who begged for him not to be harmed. Mike Mazzeo and his ilk exist only to protect and serve themselves, and certainly not the people of the City of Rochester. It is time for Mike Mazzeo to resign, because his archaic ways of policing are no longer wanted in the City of Rochester.”
Mike Mazzeo is doing everything he can to confuse the story about what happened and shift blame away from the officers responsible for Prude’s death. In a lengthy press conference, Mazzeo repeatedly insisted that these officers followed their training “to a T,” saying that if there’s a problem it’s not with the officers but with their training. Mazzeo didn’t explain if it’s part of protocol for officers to kneel on the neck of a handcuffed man, to never check on his condition or give him medical aid, or to laugh and mock at him as he is in clear distress.
Mazzeo deflected criticism by telling reporters and the public they don’t understand police training, but when pressed, he admitted he doesn’t know the details of the training himself.
Mazzeo claimed that he hadn’t seen the video of Prude’s death until it became public -- but city officials provided emails showing that he’d received the footage via email months ago, in April.
Mazzeo has attempted to shift blame by going on the attack against Mayor Warren, calling on her to resign and saying that her administration is undermining the police response to protests in response to Prude’s death.
It’s a textbook example of the playbook police unions use to shield violent and dangerous cops who are caught abusing their power and breaking the law:
- When police are caught doing something that is clearly wrong, say they were following protocol and blame their training
- Deceive and lie to obscure and confuse the truth about what happened
- Attack city officials, activists, and others in a position to hold police accountable
After blaming the system, politicians, and the public – everyone but police officers themselves – police unions will do everything they can to block meaningful changes to the system, and attack the leaders pushing for those changes. Police unions play a key role in maintaining the broken system that puts officers above accountability and endangers the lives of Black people, other people of color, and entire communities.
If we want to transform policing in any meaningful way, it’s time to stand up to police union heads like Mike Mazzeo. Join us in broadening the call for his resignation.