An independent investigator says some city officials "knowingly suppressed" information and gave false statements about the March death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who was killed by police.
Attorneys representing Nathaniel McFarland, one of Prude's five children and the administrator of his estate, also allege civil rights violations and gross negligence in the lawsuit filed Monday.
"We concluded that there was sufficient evidence surrounding Mr. Prude's death to warrant presenting the case to a grand jury, and we presented the most comprehensive case possible," officials said.
La'Ron Singletary was fired from the Rochester Police Department in September. Prude, a Black man with a history of mental illness, died of asphyxiation after an encounter with officers in March.
"Her understanding is that the officer basically told her 'I can't do that. I can't call anyone else,' " family attorney Lorenzo Napolitano told NPR Thursday.
Demonstrators gathered near a Rochester, N.Y., police precinct — not far from where a 9-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed last week. An officer is suspended, two others are on administrative leave.
The incident renews scrutiny of the city and its police department following the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died of asphyxiation after an encounter with police in March.
Mayor Lovely Warren was indicted last week on felony charges. She has recently faced unrelated calls to resign over her handling of the Daniel Prude case.
Daniel Prude's family knew he was having a psychiatric crisis and needed care. A few hours after his release from Strong Memorial Hospital, an encounter with police proved fatal.
Efforts are growing to remove or reduce the role of police in responding to people in a mental health crisis. Critics and proponents alike say a widely adopted program has too often failed.
Mayor Lovely Warren fired the police chief, suspended two city officials and called for federal investigations into the city's handling of Daniel Prude's arrest in March and the events that followed.
"The entire Rochester Police Department command staff has announced their retirement," Mayor Lovely A. Warren said Tuesday.
Mayor Lovely Warren vows to move some mental health services funds away from police. Daniel Prude died a week after officers pinned him on the ground, responding to a mental health crisis call.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Saturday that she is putting together a grand jury as part of an investigation into the death of Daniel Prude, who died in police custody in March.
"I didn't call them to come help my brother die," Joe Prude told NPR. "I called them to come help me get my brother some help."