The daughter of Daniel Prude, the 41-year-old man who died from asphyxiation after Rochester police put a spit hood over his head, told reporters on Thursday that her dad was much more than the video circulating in the media.
“Underneath that shell of a man that you saw—because that’s what I think of him as in that video—under that shell of a man that you saw was an amazing person, a person with a bright personality,” Tashyra Prude told reporters on a Zoom call following the body cam footage of her father’s death. “To see that video and see my father in a state of helplessness, where he was complying and wasn’t giving anybody a hard time and was in need of help, is devastating. And it’s really taking a toll on me and my siblings.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Prude was visiting family in Rochester when he was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. Roughly eight hours later, after being released into his family’s care, Prude experienced a mental health episode. The incident prompted his brother to call the police for help. Responding officers mocked the Chicago resident and pressed his face into the ground while it was covered with a mesh hood. The action taken by the police rendered him brain dead.
“Going off to college without my dad was one of the hardest journeys I’ve ever been on,” Tashyra Prude told reporters Thursday. “That’s something that he deserves to see. I deserved to have my father with me throughout all of this, and I was deprived of that experience.
Prude went on to say that neither she nor her siblings deserved to have their father taken away from them because “racist police officers saw a Black man in need and decided that he just didn’t deserve to live.” She wants justice for the man she described as “energetic and happy-go-lucky” who was great at giving advice and always knew how to make his five children smile.
On Thursday, the seven officers involved in Prude’s death were suspended. An investigation into his death is ongoing. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that he’s calling for the case to be concluded as “expeditiously as possible.” He expects that the Rochester Police Department will fully comply.