ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CBS Chicago/CBS New York/AP) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James has moved to empanel a grand jury to investigate the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man from Chicago whose death at the hands of police in Rochester has sparked nightly protests and calls for reform there.
In a statement, James said, “The Prude family and the Rochester community have been through great pain and anguish. My office will immediately move to empanel a grand jury as part of our exhaustive investigation into this matter.”
Prude, 41, was a Chicago resident visiting Rochester on March 23, when his brother called the police because he was having a mental health issue. From there, the moments leading up to his eventual death were all captured on police body camera.
The body cam video shows Rochester officers detaining a naked 41-year-old Daniel Prude in the early hours of March 23. Prude was ordered to lie on the ground.
Police put his hands behind his back and handcuffed him.
The video shows Prude yelling and spitting as he lies completely naked on the snow-covered ground. A white spit hood is placed on his head.
Later, an officer appears to be pushing his head into the pavement.
Police reports obtained by the CBS 2 Investigators list restraint tactics used by the officers – including what one officer described as a nerve tactic on Prude’s jaw. As seen in the video of Daniel Prude’s arrest, one officer appears to be putting all of his weight on Prude while standing in a plank position.
Several seconds pass, and Prude becomes unresponsive.
Prude was taken to the hospital, where he died days later. His death was ruled a homicide, caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said Thursday that she has suspended the seven officers involved in Prude’s arrest. Warren said she is making the move against the advice of counsel. The officers were on full duty until Thursday.
But the head of the union representing police officers in Rochester said the video of Prude suffocating after being taken into custody does not tell the whole story about what happened that night in March.
“What you saw is not complete, and certainly not accurate, but that speaks to what needs to be done,” Rochester Police Locust Club President Michael Mazzeo said.
Mazzeo did not say what was missing from the body camera video released by the Rochester Police Department, but said there are other different videos that also should be released.
Prude was from Chicago and his family said he was living in an apartment building in in Auburn Gresham. Prude’s daughter, Tashyra, told CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey she hopes her father’s death changes the way law enforcement across the country deals with mental health 911 calls.
Prude’s has roiled New York’s third-largest city since video of the encounter was made public earlier this week. In protests Friday night in Rochester, 11 people were arrested and three officers were injured, CBS affiliate WROC-TV reported.
What began as a peaceful protest Saturday night in Rochester turned violent as crowds tried to approach a police barrier. Protesters were seen throwing water bottles, firecrackers, and rocks at officers, and a bus stop and some garbage cans were also set on fire.
Protesters are demanding more accountability for how it happened and legislation to change how authorities respond to mental health emergencies.
Another protest was planned for Saturday.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)