A New York grand jury has refused to lay charges against Rochester police officers for their role in the death of Daniel Prude, a black man who died days after being detained by police in March 2020.
At a press conference announcing the grand jury’s decision on Tuesday afternoon, New York Attorney General Letitia James said “we have presented the strongest case possible” and acknowledged that many would be “disappointed. of this result “.
During the press conference and in a series of tweetsJames called for reform of the Rochester Police Department and said Prude, 41, was “in the throes of a mental health crisis” and “was literally screaming for help” when officers held him back then that he was naked in a street.
The New York attorney general’s office also released a full report on Prude’s interactions with police leading to his death, including the use of a “hood” to prevent transmission of Covid.
James also said Prude’s brother Joe Prude had called in “emergency health professionals to deal with a mental health crisis” and officers knew it, but continued to enforce restrictions.
Describing Prude’s apparent condition as “excited delirium,” a recognized medical condition which can lead to death in people if they are also under “increased stress,” James said a series of similar cases throughout State with “surprisingly similar factual characteristics” demands “an immediate and coordinated response”
James promised a “multifaceted” effort to change New York’s use of force law “from a mere subjective necessity to a law of absolute last resort, exhausting all other non-lethal means before resorting to lethal force.”
James said because of grand jury secrecy, laws prevent him from saying what crimes the grand jury is asked to review or share details.
Relatives of Prude posted police videos last year of the meeting and claimed they showed the police used excessive force. Prude died of “complications of asphyxiation as part of physical restraint,” with the drug PCP listed as a contributing factor, according to an autopsy report released by the family of Monroe County medical examiner Nadia Granger.
Joe Prude said his brother had mental health and drug issues and acted on March 22, 2020. Joe Prude called 911 that day and Daniel Prude was hospitalized for about three hours for an exam mental health.
Videos show officers found Prude naked in the middle of a street shortly after 3 a.m. on March 23, 2020. Prude complied with orders to fall face down on the ground and put his hands behind his back , watch the video.
While handcuffed, Prude appeared to speak in an absurd manner, at one point asking officers for a gun, according to the videos. Police said officers placed a balaclava on Prude because he said he had Covid-19.
At one point, it appeared that Prude had stopped breathing. Paramedics tried to revive him and he was put on life support in a hospital. He died seven days later.
“While I know the Prude family, the community of Rochester and communities across the country will rightly be devastated, we must respect this decision,” James said Tuesday of the grand jury declining to lay charges.
“The current lethal force laws have created a system that has completely failed Mr. Prude and so many before him.”
Doha madani contributed.