Daniel Prude


Daniel Prude was an American black man who ran naked through the streets of a western New York city and died of asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records released Wednesday (2 September 2020) by the man’s family.

Date of birth

His date of birth is not yet known.

Date of death

Daniel Prude died on 30 March 2020 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester. His death received no public attention until Wednesday, when his family held a news conference and released police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.

Family

He had an older brother called Joe prude.

Education

To be updated.

Death and Arrest

Daniel T. Prude arrived in Rochester, New York, from Chicago on March 22, 2020, to visit his older brother, Joe Prude. Daniel acted erratically upon his arrival, including jumping headfirst down a flight of stairs. His brother dialed emergency services for help. Daniel received a mental health evaluation at Strong Memorial Hospital and was released that night. Within several hours, Daniel resumed his erratic behavior and fled his brother's house around 3 a.m. His brother called emergency services again for assistance. Prude shed his long underwear, tank top, and socks while on the street. A passerby recorded a Facebook Live video of Prude after he begged someone to call emergency services, but Prude ran away when the person called.

At 3:16 a.m., multiple officers and two emergency medical technicians detained Daniel Prude, who was naked, bleeding, agitated, and exhibiting mental health issues, in southwest Rochester. Prude complied with the detention and did not appear to resist in the police video released from the incident. While handcuffed and on the ground, Prude writhed, shouted, and spat. After Prude told officers he was infected with the coronavirus, the police officers put a spit hood over Prude's head to protect themselves from saliva; one officer reported Prude was repeatedly spitting towards the officers. He otherwise remained naked in near-freezing temperatures. Prude demanded that they remove it. 

Four minutes into the mental health arrest, Prude shouted for an officer's gun and scooted towards the semicircle of standing officers. The officers pushed him over and forcibly held him down for 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Officer Mark Vaughn used his body weight and both hands to press the side of Prude's head to the pavement. Vaughn's report called this a "hypoglossal nerve technique". Officer Troy Talladay applied his knee to Prude's back. Another officer held Prude's legs.

At the start of the hold, Prude said, "You're trying to kill me." The officers noticed liquid coming from Prude's mouth as he stopped speaking and moving. As Vaughn released his hold, he said "You good now?" Prude did not respond. Vaughn then pushed on his head with one hand for 45 seconds while the attending officers chatted.

An emergency medical technician, Brett Barnes, asked the officers to turn Prude on his back. Acknowledging that Prude was unresponsive, he applied CPR. While in transport to Strong Memorial Hospital, his heartbeat resumed, but he remained incapacitated from lack of oxygen and was later declared brain dead. He was taken off life support a week after the arrest, on March 30.

Investigations

The New York State Attorney General office investigates deaths of unarmed people in police custody, rather than being handled locally. Rochester paused its investigation when the state took up the case in April 2020. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said that the city could not be involved in the case until the state investigation finished.

The medical examiner's autopsy report ruled Prude's death a homicide as a result of "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint". Other contributing factors included "excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP". The report did not mention prior mental health issues or explain the link between the toxicology test and his behavior. Prude's sister believes Prude smoked a PCP-laced joint at a party prior to his erratic behavior. She sent him to visit their brother when he began acting erratically. The autopsy listed several health conditions as complications of his death.

On August 20, 2020, the family's lawyer received 88 minutes of body camera recordings following an open records request. The video contains one brief gap but, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, appears to show the 11-minute incident in full. The newspaper said that the video showed no physical resistance from Prude and no overtly hostile actions from the officers.

Protests

The killing first received attention in early September 2020 when the police body camera video and written reports were released. In response to the release and subsequent press conference, protesters demonstrated outside the Rochester police headquarters on September 2, 2020, following the report's release. Several protesters were arrested and released with appearance summonses for entering the headquarters.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle likened the killing's circumstances to that of George Floyd's, whose death two months after Prude's led to national protests.

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Daniel Prude
First Name Daniel
Surname Prude
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