Officers Involved in Daniel Prude Incident Won’t Be Charged
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The officers involved in the Daniel Prude incident, in which Prude died after being restrained by officers, will not be charged.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office presented the “strongest case possible” to the grand jury, but the jury decided not to indict any officers in the case.
“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,” James said.
State law requires James’ office to investigate if an unarmed civilian dies while interacting with police.
Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, attorneys who represent some of Prude’s children said in a statement they 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.”
The statement said the incident could have been avoided by proper training and common sense to treat Prude with compassion and efficient medical attention.
“We will continue to advocate for justice in the civil courts, while also seeking federal police reform so that these continued tragedies against Black citizens end once and for all.”
Months after the incident initially occurred, a video surfaced in March 2020.
In the video, Prude was seen handcuffed on the ground outside naked on a snowy street with a “spit hood” over his head.
While Prude was on the ground, one officer pushed Prude’s head into the ground.
Prude died a week after the incident. The medical examiner ruled his death was caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
The autopsy revealed that Prude was under the influence of PCP while officers restrained him.
The report said Prude was experiencing “excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP.”
The attorney general said law enforcement agencies should incorporate de-escalation training.
“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,” James said.
“It’s imperative that all police officers, emergency dispatch providers, and emergency medical technicians be trained to recognize the symptoms and trained to respond to this serious medical emergency.”
“There are no words that can comfort a family who has lost their loved one in this tragic way,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said.
“Our actions going forward will ensure that Daniel Prude’s death was not in vain.”
Prude’s death drew widespread condemnation and was part of a series of events in which a Black person was killed while in police custody.
Protests occurred in major cities throughout the summer of 2020 over the deaths of Daniel Prude and others, such as George Floyd who would later die under similar circumstances to Prude, as well as Eric Garner who died after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer.
Prude’s is one of the several police-linked deaths that reinforced the belief among many of those involved in the protests in 2020 that a police brutality problem exists in the U.S.