Video: Police Put Hood On Black Man Killed By Asphyxiation: ‘They Treated Him Like A Piece Of Garbage’

Video: Police Put Hood On Black Man Killed By Asphyxiation: ‘They Treated Him Like A Piece Of Garbage’

Police in Rochester, NY, put a hood on Black man who later died by asphyxiation. “They treated him like a piece of garbage.” A police officer puts a hood over the head of Daniel Prude, March 23, 2020, in Rochester, N.Y. Image taken from police body camera video provided by Roth and Roth LLP. Video and records released Sept. 2, 2020, by his family. (Rochester Police via Roth and Roth LLP via AP)

Back in March, Daniel Prude was visiting his family in Rochester, New York, from Chicago, when he began to experience a psychotic episode. He ran from his family’s home naked through the streets. His brother, Joe Prude, contacted the police to help calm the situation. Instead, Daniel wound up dead at the hands of the police. It was caught on video.

Prude’s death has not been widely reported until now. His brother, Joe Prude, recently held a news conference and released police body camera video and written reports obtained through a public records request.

In the video, a naked Daniel Prude, 41, can be seen complying with the police. As instructed, he lies face down while a light snow falls. He puts his hands behind his back to be handcuffed. While he is lying on the street handcuffed, Prude can be heard on video repeating the phrase, “In Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen” and talking about his mother, Essence reported. During the 11-minute encounter, Prude seems to be visibly disturbed but follows the multiple commands given to him by police officers. 

Police put a white “spit hood” over Prude’s head. A spit hood is a device intended to protect officers from a detainee’s saliva. At the time of the March incident, New York was in the beginning days of the covid-19 pandemic.

Prude yells for police to remove the spit hood. Then an officer slams Prude’s head into the pavement. The officer holds Prude’s head down against the pavement with both hands for more than two minutes, saying “stop spitting.” Another officer places a knee on his back, 13 WHAM reported.

It appears that Prude starts throwing up. 

“My man. You puking?” one cop asks.

Prude falls silent and appears to be no longer moving. Medics arrive and  can be seen on the video performing CPR before Prude is put into an ambulance.

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

Daniel Prude died on March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police.  

“How did you see him and not directly say, ‘The man is defenseless, buck naked on the ground. He’s cuffed up already. Come on.’ How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?” Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, said during a news conference on Sept. 2.

According to Joe Prude, his brother was cut off from oxygen for nearly 20 minutes. After his brother was taken to the hospital, Joe said he was put on life support.

“They treated my brother like a piece of garbage,” Joe said. “What do you do to garbage? You throw it out. So, that’s basically what they’ve done to my brother.”

“The police have shown us over and over again that they are not equipped to handle individuals with mental health concerns. These officers are trained to kill, and not to deescalate. These officers are trained to ridicule, instead of supporting Mr. Daniel Prude,” Ashley Gantt of Free the People ROC said at the news conference with Prude’s family.

Rochester stopped its own investigation into Prude’s death when state Attorney General Letitia James stepped in to investigate in April. Under New York law, deaths of unarmed people in police custody are often turned over to the attorney general’s office rather than handled by local officials, 13 WHAM reported.

AG James said that the investigation is ongoing.

“I want everyone to understand that at no point in time did we feel that this was something that we wanted not to disclose,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said at a press briefing. “We are precluded from getting involved in it until that agency (the AG’s office) has completed their investigation.”

Neither the Rochester police nor Mike Mazzeo, the president of the Rochester Union, have commented on the incident or the fate of the officers involved.  

Lawyer Danielle Ponder, a special assistant public defender and diversity and inclusion officer at Monroe County Public Defender’s Office in Rochester, attended protests that followed the Prude family’s press conference. Ponder blasted both the police union and city officials, 13 WHAM reported.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.

“For three months, our elected officials have lied to us,” Ponder said. “Instead of being honest that this did happen in Rochester and we are going to do something about it, instead of doing that, they said ‘there is no problem here.’ Mike Mazzeo said that yesterday: ‘We don’t have a policing problem. We have a perception problem’. And this man is dead. That is a perception problem?”