Mayor suspends officers involved in Daniel Prude's suffocation death

Mayor suspends officers involved in Daniel Prude's suffocation death
Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 03, 2020

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — The mayor of New York’s third largest city has suspended a group of police officers involved in the suffocation death of a Black man last March.

Daniel Prude died March 30 when his family took him off life support, seven days after officers who encountered him running naked through the street put a hood over his head to stop him from spitting, then held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing.

Wednesday, Prude’s family held a news conference and released police body camera video obtained through a public records request that captured his fatal interaction with the officers.

Prude had been taken to a Rochester hospital for a mental health evaluation about eight hours before the encounter that led to his death. He was released back into the care of his family and then abruptly ran into the street and took off his clothes.

A medical examiner concluded that Prude’s death was a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report lists excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP, as contributing factors.

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office took over the investigation of the death in April. It is ongoing.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced the suspension of the officers Thursday. She said the officers would still be paid because of contract rules.

“Mr. Daniel Prude was failed by the police department, our mental health care system, our society and he was failed by me,” Warren said.

Messages left with the union representing Rochester police officers were not immediately returned Thursday.