Rochester mayor, embroiled in Daniel Prude controversy, indicted on felony campaign finance fraud charges

Lovely Warren, mayor of the Upstate New York city, faces two charges while also contending with mismanagement of Daniel Prude's death

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An Upstate New York mayor, who is at the center of controversy over the police-involved death of a Black man earlier this year, has been indicted after being suspected of campaign finance fraud related to a past reelection bid.

Lovely Warren, the Democratic mayor of Rochester, New York, was indicted Friday, The New York Times reports. Two associates were also charged.

Warren, 43, who has been the mayor since 2013, is already embroiled in an investigation into the mishandling of the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who was killed by police in March after his brother called for a mental health check.

Lovely Warren indictment Rochester New York thegrio.com
Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren addresses members of the media during a press conference related to the ongoing protest in the city on September 06, 2020 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

As reported by theGrio, Prude was nude and unarmed when he was handcuffed and place in a “spit hood” by police, which officers allege was used to protect them against the novel coronavirus. After an officer applied force to hold down his head, Prude was rendered unconscious and died a week later in the hospital.

Prude’s death did not become public knowledge until September when his family was finally granted access to the body cam video of his arrest. They allege that the details of the arrest were covered up. The Rochester police chief has stepped down, and there have been calls for Warren to do the same. New York Attorney General Leticia James announced in September she will convene a grand jury in the case.

Read More: Police leaders pressed Rochester to keep Prude video secret

Now, she may be the next to step down. If convicted, it would lead to her vacating the position.

Daniel Prude thegrio.com
Daniel Prude arrest (Credit: screenshot)

The indictment says that Warren, her campaign treasurer and the city’s finance director “knowingly and willingly” attempted to evade campaign contribution limits and were involved in a “systemic and ongoing” attempt to defraud “more than one person.”

“We all want our elections to be run fairly, and these are laws on the books to allow and ensure that people who are entering political office follow the rules,” Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said at a press conference on Friday. “We all want fair campaigns.”

Read More: Rochester police chief fired in fallout over Daniel Prude death

The mayor and her co-defendants, Rosiland Brooks Harris, the finance director, and Albert Jones, Jr., the campaign treasurer, are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

Warren has denied any wrongdoing, blaming the financial irregularities on what Doorley described as a “substantial sum” on bookkeeping errors.

“Her position has not changed one bit, and that is, she’s innocent,” her lawyer Joseph Damelio told the Times. “She is anxious to get this process started and she’s ready to go to trial.”

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