A video showing the moment a Black man, Daniel Prude, was killed during an arrest in the United States, has sparked outrage after it was shared on the internet.
Daniel Prude, 41, died of asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records released Wednesday, September 2, by the man’s family..
Daniel Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester that left him brain dead. His death received no public attention until Wednesday September 2, when his family held a news conference and released police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.
“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched,” Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, said at a news conference. “How did you see him and not directly say, ‘The man is defenseless, buck naked on the ground. He’s cuffed up already. Come on.’ How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”
The tragedy began when Daniel Prude, who was coming from Chicago, arrived in Rochester for a visit with his brother. He was kicked off the train before it got to Rochester, in Depew, “due to his unruly behavior,” according to an internal affairs investigator’s report.
Rochester police officers took Prude into custody for a mental health evaluation around 7 p.m. on March 22 for suicidal thoughts — about eight hours before the encounter that led to his death. But his brother said he was only at the hospital for a few hours, according to the reports.
Police responded again after Joe Prude called 911 at about 3 a.m. to report that his brother had left his house. Daniel Prude had run naked through the streets of a western New York city.
Police responded and the videos released on Wednesday by the Prude family show what transpired then.
The videos show Prude, who had taken off his clothes, complying when police ask him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Prude is agitated and shouting as he sits on the pavement in handcuffs for a few moments as a light snow falls. “Give me your gun, I need it,” he shouts.
Then, they put a white “spit hood” over his head.
One officer said that they put the hood on Prude because he was spitting continuously in the direction of officers and they were concerned about coronavirus.
Prude demands they remove the hood but they do not listen to him.
Then the officers slam Prude’s head into the street. One officer, who is white, holds his head down against the pavement with both hands, saying “calm down” and “stop spitting.” Another officer places a knee on his back.
“Trying to kill me!” Prude says, his voice becoming muffled and anguished under the hood.
“OK, stop. I need it. I need it,” the prone man begs before his shouts turn to whimpers and grunts.
The officers appear to become concerned after he stops moving, falls silent and they notice water coming out of Prude’s mouth.
“My man. You puking?” one says.
One officer notes that he’s been out, naked, in the street for some time. Another remarks, “He feels pretty cold.”
The officers then remove the hood and his handcuffs and medics can then be seen performing CPR before he’s loaded into an ambulance.
Spit hoods have been scrutinized as a factor in the deaths of several prisoners in the U.S. and other countries in recent years.
A medical examiner concluded that Prude’s death was a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report lists excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP, as contributing factors.
The city halted its investigation into Prude’s death when state Attorney General Letitia James’ office began its own investigation in April. Under New York law, deaths of unarmed people in police custody are often turned over to the attorney general’s office, rather than handled by local officials.
Letitia James said Wednesday that investigation is continuing.
Activists demanded that officers involved be prosecuted on murder charges and that they be removed from the department while the investigation proceeds.
Daughter of Daniel Prude, Tashyra Prude spoke following her father’s death. She called for officers involved to face murder charges.
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