Protests are emerging in Rochester, New York, following the release of body cam footage that shows a Black man being mocked and seemingly mistreated by police during a mental health episode. The March incident subsequently led to the 41-year old’s death. His family is now calling on the officers involved to be fired and arrested.

According to reports, Joe Prude, the brother of Daniel Prude, called the police in the early morning hours of March 23 to assist him in getting his brother to cooperate during what appears to be a breakdown triggered by mental illness. When police arrived, a naked Daniel, who had been walking in the street, was handcuffed and forced to sit on the ground. 

During the 11-minute encounter, Prude can be seen heard repeating the phrase “in Jesus Christ I pray, amen” as well as speaking about his mother, who is seemingly deceased. Throughout, Prude appears visibly disturbed, but follows the multiple commands given to him by officers. 

Daniel Prude sits bare in the middle of the street.
Body cam footage shows the moment an officer placed a “spit hood” around Daniel Prude’s face while responding to a mental health call.

When more police arrive at the scene, the situation seems to escalate as one officer places a “spit hood” around his head before pressing it into the ground. Simultaneously, another officer is seen kneeling on Prude’s chest. Police say that Prude appears to have vomited. “He started throwing up,” an officer can be heard saying before yelling for medical assistance, “Now it looks like he doesn’t even have chest compressions.”

At this time Prude’s body appears limp, and he seems unresponsive. Officers offer chest compressions with guidance from an EMT. He is then placed on a gurney and wheeled into an ambulance as the EMT worker continues to offer chest compressions. According to CNN, he was pronounced brain dead upon arrival at the hospital where he died one week later on March 30. The medical examiner determined the cause of death was asphyxiation.

The investigation into the killing of Daniel Prude is now in the hands of New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office. In a statement James said, “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.”

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