The family of Daniel Prude, a black man who died in police custody in March, two months before the death of George Floyd, is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Rochester, alleging that he was murdered.
Prude's death did not receive widespread media attention or spark protests until Wednesday, when his family held a news conference and released police body camera footage and written reports they obtained via a public records request.
Prude's brother called Rochester police on March 23 after he started acting erratically and ran out the back door naked. The video footage shows Prude, without any clothes on, complying with officers when asked to get on the ground and place his hands behind his back.
At least five Rochester police officers stand over Prude, who is lying on his stomach on the cold, wet ground with his hands bound behind his back, rambling and repeating the same phrases over and over again. The officers then can then be seen handcuffing him before placing a spit hood over his head, which Prude demands to be removed.
The officers then pin him to the ground, kneel over his back and push his face into the pavement until he stops breathing. Paramedics can then be seen performing CPR on Prude before he's loaded into an ambulance. He was pronounced dead seven days later. Watch the footage below: (WARNING: the video contains graphic images)
Medical Examiner Ruled Prude's Death a Homicide
That autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Prude's death a homicide. The report noted that Prude's cause of death included "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint." The report also said that Prude had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death and listed excited delirium as a contributing factor.
"I placed the phone call for my brother to get help, not for my brother to get lynched," said Joe Prude, the brother of Daniel Prude. "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."
New York Attorney General's Office Investigating Prude's Death
Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary said the New York State Attorney General's Letitia James' office is investigating the incident, which it took over from the city in April.
Activists and protesters are now demanding that the officers involved are prosecuted on murder charges and fired from the department while the investigation proceeds.
Rochester Police Department was called and that response led to his murder, said activist Ashley Gantt. "The police have shown us time and time again that they cannot address mental health crises. Today we stand firmly seeking justice for Daniel and his family, and all the victims who have been murdered and terrorized by the Rochester Police Department."