The family of a Black man who reportedly died of suffocation after police officers put a hood over his head and pressed his face into the ground during an arrest last March in Rochester, N.Y., called for the firing and murder charges for involved officers Wednesday.
Daniel Prude, 41, died on March 30 after he was removed from life support a week after his arrest, The New York Times reported.
Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, called officers’ actions during his brother’s arrest “cold-blooded murder” in a news conference by the family, highlighting the police body camera footage.
“How many more brothers got to die for society to understand that this needs to stop?” he said in front of reporters. The encounter was not made public until Wednesday.
Joe Prude first called police on March 23 to report his brother had run out of the house in an agitated mental state. A truck driver also reported Daniel Prude was on the street naked, shouting and trying to break into a car while claiming he had the coronavirus, according to The Times.
The body camera footage shows officers handcuffing Daniel Prude and putting what’s called a spit hood over his head, according to the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester.
Still clearly agitated, Daniel Prude is pushed to the ground by officers after he shouts “Give me that gun!”
One officer holds his face to the ground while another appears to put his knee on his back while he still has the hood over his head, according to the video.
While on the ground, Daniel Prude demands the hood be removed before an officer allegedly slammed his head into the street, police reports said. Another reportedly held his head against the pavement while ordering him to “stop spitting.”
Daniel Prude stops moving or speaking then appears to get sick. One officer asks him if he’s OK before a paramedic performs CPR on him and he’s taken away in an ambulance.
The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Rochester police chief said they are investigating. The officers involved reportedly still have their jobs.
PCP intoxication was a contributing factor in his death, the autopsy report said.
“I know that there is a rhetoric that is out there that this is a cover-up,” Rochester Police Chief La’Ron D. Singletary said, in a separate news conference Wednesday, adding that he understood people are frustrated with the lengthy investigation. “This is not a cover-up.”
James said in a statement: “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. 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.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he hadn’t seen the footage but called the case “very disturbing.”
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.