ROCHESTER, NY. – No officers will be charged in Daniel Prude’s death, a Chicago man visiting his brother in Rochester, New York, when he suffered a mental health episode.
A grand jury decided Tuesday to forego charging the officers involved in the 41-year-old’s death, despite body camera video showing the officers holding Prude down on the ground naked until he stopped breathing.
The incident, which unfolded in March of 2020, also showed an officer place a knee on Prude’s back. The officers restrained Prude for two minutes. Ultimately, a grand jury found the officers were not at fault for the Chicago native’s death.
“For them to get off scot-free, it just shows that we have serious deep problems in our criminal justice system,” said Prude’s attorney Elliot Shields.
Prude’s family has maintained that he was suffering from a mental health crisis when police arrived at the scene. However, authorities have insisted that Prude had PCP in his system and it led to his death.
Officer alleged it was also the reason Prude initially ran naked through the streets.
“These officers don’t get to make it up on the fly. They don’t get to freewheel it,” said Attorney Matthew Rich, who represents some of the officers involved in the March 2020 incident. “They rely on their training and I might add these are policies still in effect today.”
Segmenting is the technique officers used to subdue Prude. After the body camera footage was released in September, demonstrators took to the streets in protest.
Months later, many remain frustrated, saying the grand jury’s decision is a heartbreaking blow to the city of Rochester.
“The system too often allows officers to use unnecessarily deadly force and without consequence,” said New York State Attorney Leticia James.
In a statement, the Prude family says, “this tragedy could have been avoided if officers had been properly trained but also used basic human decency and common sense to treat Mr. Prude with compassion and get him the medical attention he deserved.”