CHICAGO — A Chicago man died in March after being restrained by police officers in Rochester, New York.
Daniel Prude, 41, was staying with his brother who called police for help. He said Prude was having a mental health crisis.
Months later, police body camera footage of the incident was made public.
The video shows Prude was naked and agitated. Police handcuffed him and covered his head with a mesh spit hood to protect officers from saliva. One officer pushed his face into the ground, another had a knee in his back and a third held his feet. Prude stopped breathing. He was removed from life support a week later.
The medical examiner ruled it a homicide by complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint. A low level of PCP was found in his system.
“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help not for my brother to get lynched,” Joe Prude, his brother, said.
Prude’s family is preparing to file a lawsuit.
“Police have shown us they are not equipped to handle mental health,” Ashley Gantt, Free the People ROC, said. “These officers are trained to kill, not to de-escalate.”
Protesters gathered at Rochester City Hall on Wednesday. Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said there has been no coverup in the case.
The officers involved remain on active duty. Prude’s family says they should be fired and charged.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure the truth comes out,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said. She called the video disturbing, but said the investigation is now in the hands of the New York Attorney General Letitia James.
James released this statement, Wednesday:
“The death of Daniel Prude was a tragedy, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family. I share the community’s concerns about ensuring a fair and independent investigation into his death and support their right to protest. Pursuant to Executive Order 147, the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit of my office is already actively investigating this incident. As with every investigation, we will follow the facts of this case and ensure a complete and thorough examination of all relevant parties. We will work tirelessly to provide the transparency and accountability that all our communities deserve.”