Nearly one year after Daniel Prude was killed, allegedly as a result of excessive force used by police officers while attempting to subdue him during a mental health episode, a grand jury voted not to indict the policemen involved. Shortly after this, protesters took to the streets in Rochester, demanding justice for Prude. They marched to the Rochester Police Department Headquarters and were only dispersed shortly before midnight.
The 41-year-old African-American man who was experiencing a mental health crisis after allegedly ingesting PCP, was allegedly put in a spit hood and pinned to the ground by police officers on the intervening night of March 22-23, 2020. However, Prude stopped breathing after being held face-down on the pavement for over 2 minutes. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital where he was declared brain dead. He was removed from life support a week later.
The circumstances of his death though were fully revealed only when the body cam footage of the night was released in September 2020, following which seven police officers were suspended. However, yesterday, a grand jury voted not to indict them for Prude’s death.
Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump who is also representing the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, released a statement expressing disappointment with the grand jury’s decision. He said, “We are deeply disappointed that the officers will not face criminal charges for killing Daniel Prude during what was clearly a mental health crisis as he lay naked in the cold streets with a spit hood they placed over his head.”
In a statement released, New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “Daniel Prude was in the throes of a mental health crisis and what he needed was compassion, care, and help from trained professionals. Tragically, he received none of those things.” Though disappointed with the outcome of the grand jury vote, Attorney General James advised people to respect it saying, “We concluded that there was sufficient evidence surrounding Mr. Prude’s death to warrant presenting the case to a grand jury, and we presented the most comprehensive case possible. While I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community, and communities across the country will rightfully be devastated and disappointed, we have to respect this decision.”
She has also released a comprehensive report with details of the events that took place on that fateful night. The report may be read here.
Rochester Police Chief Herriott-Sullivan also released the following statement saying that it was “still an ongoing investigation” and that the “officers will remain on leave” pending the outcome of the internal investigation.
*Feature Image is a representational image.