ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Ben Caxton) —Daniel Prude, 41, died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after Rochester police took him into custody. Prude’s family says Rochester police killed him while he was suffering a mental health crisis. But on the body-cam video his brother can be heard telling the responding officer that Prude is high on PCP.
The city halted its investigation into Prude’s death when New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office began its own investigation in April.
Activists gathered outside the Public Safety Building in Rochester Wednesday to call for the immediate firing and prosecution of the officers involved. They have not been placed on administrative leave.
In part of the video, Prude is on the ground, naked and speaking incoherently. At one point, police place a mesh hood over his head, which is standard procedure when a subject is spitting. Prude appears agitated and to be spitting. Prude demands they remove the hood.
Later in the footage, Prude argues with the officers and struggles. They force him to the ground and hold him down. Eleven minutes after the first officer arrives, they place him in an ambulance. Prude died in the hospital seven days later.
The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude as a homicide. It says the cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed that Prude had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death.
Prude’s family intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Rochester.
“I placed the phone call for my brother to get help, not for my brother to get lynched,” Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother, said today. “When I say get lynched, that was full fledged murder, cold-blooded — nothing other than cold-blooded murder. The man is defenseless, naked on the ground, cuffed up already. I mean come on, how many brothers got to die for society to understand that this needs to stop? You killed a defenseless Black man, a father’s son, a brother’s brother, a nephew’s uncle.”
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said Attorney General James’ office began investigating the incident after his department ordered an internal investigation. “The rhetoric that this is a cover-up. It’s not. From day one, we have been in constant conversation with the investigating authorities,” Singletary said.