A grand jury voted not to file a complaint against the seven police officers implicated in the death of Daniel Prude, announced Tuesday the Attorney General of New York Letitia James (D).
James said at a press conference that his office presented a “complete dossier” to the grand jury and did “everything possible to prove the facts. But at the end of the day, we have to respect the decision.
Prude, a black man, died on March 30, a week after being arrested after running naked in the streets. Video of officers blocking him and placing a “balaclava” over his head has gone viral, sparking national outrage.
Prude’s death drew attention after her family released images of the incident in early September, accusing the city of covering up her death. The incident itself occurred two months before the police assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May, which sparked months of protests against police brutality.
A forensic pathologist ruled her death a homicide caused by “complications of suffocation from physical restraint.”
James’ office on Tuesday released a 200-page report concluding there was enough evidence to present the case to a grand jury, along with recommendations for reforming use of force laws.
“Current lethal force laws have created a system that has utterly and abjectly failed Mr. Prude and so many before him. Serious reform is needed, not only in the Rochester Police Department, but in our criminal justice system as a whole, ”James said in a statement accompanying the release of the report. “I will take a multifaceted approach to address the very issues that have prevented us from holding officers to account when they abuse lethal force.”
Amid the fallout from Prude’s death, the officers involved were suspended with pay and Rochester, New York City Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, retired. Documents released later by the City of Rochester showed that police had tried to cover up information about Prude’s death for months.
Updated at 5:08 p.m.