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Daniel Prude: Man who died in police custody had hood placed on head, face pressed to pavement

Prude was naked, unarmed and in midst of mental health crisis
Daniel Prude: Man who died in police custody had hood placed on head, face pressed to pavement
Posted at 5:28 AM, Sep 03, 2020

The family of a Rochester, New York man killed during an encounter with police earlier this year, says officers' use of force led to his death as he suffered a mental health crisis.

Following the release of the arrest video by Prude's family on Wednesday, protesters called for the city council to pass legislation that would forbid police officers from responding to mental health crises.

On March 23, police encountered Daniel Prude in a Rochester street, naked, bleeding and unarmed. According to ABC News, he had been brought to the hospital earlier that evening after experiencing suicidal thoughts and had been subsequently released.

Prude initially complied, and officers placed him in handcuffs.

With the coronavirus pandemic in its infancy, officers then chose to place a spit hood over Prude's head. The hood appears to agitate Prude, and he asked officers to remove it.

Moments later, Prude attempted to stand up, and officers wrestled him back to the ground.

Video shows officers pressing Prude's face into the pavement for two minutes.

It was then that police realized that Prude had stopped responding. Officers administered CPR, and he was rushed to the hospital.

On March 30, Prude died when he was taken off life support.

"I tell this particular officer that comes to my door (prior to the incident), don't you kill my damn brother," Prude's brother Joe said on Wednesday. "Not even 15 minutes later, he comes back and tells me my brother is dead. You put a bag over his head — what did you put a bag over his head for?"

An autopsy from the Monroe County Medical Examiner found that Prude died from complications of asphyxia from physical restraint. He also may have had PCP in his system.

The Rochester Police Chief said he ordered criminal and internal investigations following the incident. The case was sent to the New York Attorney General's office, as required by state law when investigating in-custody deaths.

None of the officers involved in the incident have been suspended. Protesters in Rochester Wednesday night called for the removal of the officers from the department.

"A naked and defenseless man lynched and we need to think about that in this moment," activist Stanley Martin said. "We have no excuse. This happened under the watch of the city."