An African-American man died after police officers in Rochester, N.Y., placed a hood over his head while taking him into custody, causing him to suffocate, records released by activists and his family say. They are now calling for justice in what they say was a wrongful death.
"We are in need of accountability for the wrongful death and murder of Daniel Prude. He was treated inhumanely and without dignity," said Ashley Gantt, with Free the People Roc and the New York Civil Liberties Union, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "These officers killed someone and are still patrolling in our community."
The New York Times reports Prude, 41, was removed from life support and died March 30. Seven days prior, he had been visiting from Chicago when he ran out of the home of his brother, Joe while having a mental episode. He had been running through the streets when police picked him up. He had been taken to a hospital the day before after having a mental health issue. His brother had called 911 for help.
A truck driver had also called 911, reporting that a man with no clothes on was running in the streets was attempting to break into a car and saying he had coronavirus.
A body camera video shown on the Democrat and Chronicle’s website shows Prude disrobed and in handcuffs and shouting when police put the hood on his head in an apparent attempt to prevent him from spitting. When he shouts for an officer’s gun, cops push him to the ground. At that point they place him in a restraint position with one officer holding his head down and another with his knee on his back.
After about two minutes, Prude stops moving and an officer sees that he has thrown up. A paramedic is called to perform CPR and he is hospitalized. A medical examiner rules Prude’s death a homicide from “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” an autopsy report says.
The report also notes that Prude was suffering excited delirium and was intoxicated by PCP.
The body camera footage was obtained Aug. 20 by Prude’s family lawyer Elliot Dolby-Shields, through an open records request, according to the Times. It was later released to the public.
The officers involved are still on the Rochester police force while an internal investigation along with one by New York State Attorney General Letitia James is being conducted.
Although the information involving the case is just recently surfacing, it bears striking similarity to that of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who was restrained and died May 25 when former officer Daniel Chauvin held his knee on his neck, also causing him to asphyxiate.
BET has been covering every angle of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.
(Photo: CBS Chicago)