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Disturbing Video Shows Chicago Man, Daniel Prude, Suffocating In Police Custody In Rochester, N.Y.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The video is hard to watch – a Black man suffocating after being taken into custody by police in Rochester, New York.

The Chicago man, Daniel Prude, died months before George Floyd.

As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported Wednesday, Prude was a Chicago resident visiting Rochester 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 man is defenseless, butt-naked on the ground. He was cuffed up already,” said Daniel Prude’s brother, Joe Prude. “I mean, come on. How many more brothers need to die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”

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.

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.”

Prude was from Chicago and his family said he was living in an apartment building in in Auburn Gresham.

Five months after Prude’s death, his family want the officers involved to be fired and charged with murder.

The New York State Attorney General’s office confirmed to us that they are investigating the case.

“The video is very disturbing,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “I’m not going to deny that.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Warren said the investigation is in the state’s hands.

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary wouldn’t answer any questions about the hood that was used or the appropriateness of the techniques shown in police body cam video. But he repeated several times: “This is not a cover-up. Let me be clear when I say this – there was no cover-up.”

CBS affiliate WROC-TV in Rochester noted that as per an executive order from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in May, state Attorney General Letitia James will investigate all cases in which law enforcement officers are involved in civilians’ deaths.

James released a statement as quoted by WROC:

“The death of Daniel Prude was a tragedy, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family. I share the community’s concerns about ensuring a fair and independent investigation into his death and support their right to protest. Pursuant to Executive Order 147, the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit of my office is already actively investigating this incident. As with every investigation, we will follow the facts of this case and ensure a complete and thorough examination of all relevant parties. We will work tirelessly to provide the transparency and accountability that all our communities deserve.”

The Monroe County, New York Medical Examiner’s office report showed that Pride also had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death, which could explain his erratic behavior.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the officers involved in the incident had not been suspended.

Megan Hickey

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