A Black man died of suffocation after Rochester, New York police officers covered his head with a “spit hood” while taking him into custody.
Another day, another public lynching of a Black person by police. Daniel Prude is the latest Black person to have their death by police officers be filmed. Chicago CBS Local reports that Prude’s murder happened in March, two months prior to George Floyd. The outlet reports that Prude, 41, was a Chicago resident who was visiting Rochester when his brother called the police because he was having a mental health issue. “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?”
Police body-cam footage shows an unarmed Prude, totally naked on the ground in the early morning of March 23. Reports say the man was ordered to lie down on the ground. Police put his hands behind his back and handcuffed him. In the video, you can see Prude yelling and spitting while lying completely naked on the snow-covered ground. Officers then place a white hood on his head. Later on the video, an officer can be seen pushing his head to the ground. Prude was eventually taken to the hospital, where he died days later. CBS reports that his death was ruled a homicide that was caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
Mayor Lovely Warren called the video footage “disturbing.” “The video is very disturbing,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “I’m not going to deny that.” On Wednesday, Warren said that the investigation is the responsibility of the state of New York. The police chief would not answer any questions about the hood and whether or not it was appropriate for the officers to use on the man. Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said the matter is not a “cover-up.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order back in May ordering state Attorney General Letitia James to investigate all cases in which law enforcement has been involved in the deaths of citizens. In a statement, James wrote: “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 Monore County, New York Medical Examiner’s Office report showed that Prude had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death, which may explain his odd behavior at the time. None of the officers involved have been suspended. The outlet reports that some are organizing a protest over Prude’s death.