A New York grand jury voted not to indict any Rochester police officers involved in the arrest of a man that resulted in his death by asphyxiation, announced Tuesday by State Attorney General Letitia James.Speaking from the Missionary Baptist Church of Aenon, she said the grand jury found that none of the seven officers present committed any crimes during the arrest of Daniel Prude,41, on March 23.
The office of James claimed there was “sufficient evidence” to justify the investigation of the grand jury because “the current laws on deadly force have created a system that utterly and abjectly failed Prude,” said a statement.James said, “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,”Not only in the Rochester Police Department, but in our criminal justice system as a whole, substantial change is needed.
I will seek a multi-faceted strategy to resolve the same problems that have stopped us from keeping officers responsible when they use lethal force inappropriately.I am committed to effecting the change that is so badly needed, and in my efforts to see it through, I will be unshakeable. Daniel Prude’s arrest came after a police call from his brother, Joe Prude, to inform them of his mental health crisis.
Officers found Daniel Prude without any clothes walking down the street. They reported that on the same street, he broke windows at a company.Before the arrival of the police, witnesses described his conduct as erratic. Video footage reveals that when they ordered him to lie on the ground and place his hands behind his back to be handcuffed, Daniel Prude complied with the police.However, after that, he begins to become agitated and tries to stand up, particularly after they put on his head what is known as a “spit sock”
The police said that they used the cover because he spit on them repeatedly and told them he had coronavirus.By standing on his shoulders, back and feet, officers then restrained him as he stood face-down on the street. For more than 2 minutes, one officer can be seen in the video leaning on Daniel Prude’s back, during which time the latter stopped moving and speaking.According to an autopsy report, he was hospitalized after he stopped breathing and died one week later of complications from “asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,
“The death of Daniel Prude triggered demonstrations across the city against perceived racial profiling and disproportionate use of force in the RPD. To prevent the same result in potential arrests, James gave a number of guidelines to the RPD, including:
— Instruction in the identification and reaction to emotional delirium syndrome for law enforcement officers, dispatchers and emergency medical service staff.
— Reducing police responses where possible to mental health reports and passing “Daniel’s Law” to aid with that effort.— Instituting compulsory instruction in de-escalation for all state police officers.
— Enforcing a body-worn video footage release policy.
— Taking spit sock alternatives into account.