Daniel Prude had a mental health episode on March 23 when his brother Joe Prude sought help from Rochester Police, the family said at a news conference on Wednesday. Joe Prude claimed Daniel stopped breathing after police kneeled on him while he was handcuffed.
When he was rushed to the hospital 15 minutes later, he was brain dead, said Joe Prude.
The organizers of the Free the People Roc group, a group of Black Lives Matter, named three officials who allegedly were involved in the incident. CNN is working to confirm their identity and is not currently naming them.
The bodycam material
The disruptive bodycam footage of the incident, made available to CNN by attorneys for Prude, compiled the body cameras of several officers and was edited together to show different angles of the incident.
In the first few minutes of the eleven-minute encounter with the police, Prude, who is handcuffed, repeats the sentence “In Jesus Christ I pray, amen”
The video shows Prude naked at 3:16 a.m. in the middle of a city street when the footage begins.
An officer gets out of his patrol car, approaches Prude, and asks him six times to get on the ground while the officer points a taser at him. Prude agrees and is asked to put his hands behind his back, which he does quickly. The officer then handcuffs him when Prude says “Yes, sir” several times.
Several other officers arrive on site and one seems to identify Prude by name.
Three minutes after the incident began, an officer placed a bag over Prude’s head. He rolls around on the floor yelling various things.
Prude appears to be trying to get up around 3:20 a.m. and three officers move in to hold him back and keep him down. The police say Prude is spitting and appears to have vomited. Three minutes and 10 seconds after the reluctance, an officer said, “He started throwing up, now it looks like he hasn’t even had chest compressions.”
They call the EMT to help whoever directs an officer to turn Prude and do chest compressions, which they do.
Prude appears unresponsive and is loaded into an ambulance at 3:27 a.m., 11 minutes after the first officer arrives on site.
Attorneys pondering an unlawful death lawsuit
Family lawyers say the video shows officers mocking and teasing Daniel, leaving him handcuffed and naked on the floor, and placing a bag over his head.
Elliot Shields, one of the family lawyers, said the attorneys were in the process of preparing to file an unlawful death warrant. Shields said one of the reasons the family had not previously spoken publicly about the incident was because it took some time to get the body camera footage and there was no further record of what happened.
“How many more brothers have to die for society to understand that this has to stop,” said Prude. “And I can’t even share the pain I’m feeling with all of you, and my family is going through too.”
An investigation is currently in the hands of the New York attorney general, Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren and police chief La’Ron D. Singletary said as they spoke to reporters later Wednesday and offered condolences to the Prude family.
Singletary told reporters that none of the officers involved in the incident were suspended pending the results of the Attorney General’s investigation. The attorney general officially took over the case on April 16, Warren said.
Singletary also said that he opened both a criminal and internal investigation into the incident the morning after Prude’s encounter with police. Warren said after Prude died, she was informed by the Rochester Legal Department that this investigation was the attorney general’s purview and that nothing could be done at the city level until that investigation was completed.
“The death of Daniel Prude was a tragedy, and I would like to express my condolences to his family. I share the community’s concern to ensure a fair and independent investigation into his death and to support their right to protest,” said New York attorney general Letitia James in a statement released Wednesday confirming an active investigation.
While neither the boss nor the mayor would provide details of the incident or discuss what is on camera footage of police bodies, Warren acknowledged that once the attorney general’s investigation is complete, authorities can give the family the information they deserve .
Warren also said the date of death was March 30, a week after the incident.
Prude said on Wednesday that the police killed a defenseless black man and called Daniel’s death a “cold-blooded murder”.
The Prude family lawyers say that “if everyone is watching body cam videos, they will see a murder” “no questions asked.”
CNN’s Melanie Schuman, Elizabeth Hartfield and Rob Frehse contributed to this report.