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7 Rochester police officers suspended for the death of a black man they had been covering



A light snow was falling on Rochester, NY, the streets were empty and dark at 3 a.m. when the call came on the police radio: A naked man, under the influence of PCP, ran outside shouting he had the coronavirus.

Rochester Police officers came and handcuffed man Daniel Prude, 41. He sat in the street, grazing and incoherent, praising Jesus before demanding that officials give him a weapon, according to video footage of the March 23 meeting.

Then he began to spit on the floor. An officer unfolded a net hood – a safety device to prevent prisoners from spitting on it ̵

1; and pulled it over Mr. Prude’s head.

When he tried to get up, the officers forced Mr. Prude face down on the floor. One of them held his head on the sidewalk, according to a video from the officer’s body camera. Mr Prude’s request to remove the hood turned to gurgling noises when an ambulance arrived. Moments later, Mr. Prude stopped breathing. He was resuscitated in the ambulance and hospitalized, but he never regained consciousness. He died seven days later.

Recognition…Roth and Roth LLP via Associated Press

Those two deadly minutes, announced nationally on Wednesday with the release of the raw police videos of Mr. Prude’s family, are the last to stir another American city outraged over the death of a black man in custody . The protesters took to the streets of Rochester and Mr Prude’s relatives asked questions known from previous fatal encounters with the police, such as: B. Why the officers were not suspended.

On Thursday, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren suspended seven officials involved in the confrontation.

The disciplinary action was the first in more than five months since Mr Prude’s death. On Wednesday, Attorney General Letitia James made her first statement on the case, offering condolences to Mr. Prude’s family and promising “a fair and independent investigation” that began not long after Mr. Prude’s death. “We will work tirelessly to ensure the transparency and accountability that all of our communities deserve,” she said.

After high profile victims of deadly encounters with police across the country, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the shooting of Jacob Blake, the delay between Mr Prude’s death and the confirmation of an investigation by Ms. Prude. James and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo – Both Democrats who spoke out on the subject of police brutality were shocked.

On Wednesday night, as indignation over the circumstances surrounding Mr. Prude’s death spread, Mr. Cuomo said he had not seen the body camera footage. Until Thursday, however, the governor called “for answers,” saying the video was “deeply worrying” and calling for the investigation to be accelerated.

“For the sake of Mr. Prude’s family and the Rochester Parish, I urge that this case be closed as soon as possible,” the governor said in a statement. “For this to happen, we need the full and timely cooperation of the Rochester Police Department, and I trust that it will be fully complied with.”

The Monroe County coroner, according to an autopsy report, ruled that Mr. Prude’s death was a murder caused by “complications of asphyxiation with restraint.”

“Excited delirium” and acute intoxication from phencyclidine or the drug PCP contributed to this, the report said.

Even so, the blatant scene – a black man handcuffed and sitting on a street with only a white hood on – seemed a shocking combination of physical helplessness and racist images from another era.


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