On Tuesday (Feb. 23), New York Attorney General Leticia James revealed that a grand jury voted not to indict any of the Rochester police officers who were involved in the death of Daniel Prude.
“Daniel Prude was in the throes of a mental health crisis and what he needed was compassion, care and help from trained professionals. Tragically, he received none of those things,” James said in a statement. “We concluded that there was sufficient evidence surrounding Mr. Prude’s death to warrant presenting the case to a grand jury, and we presented the most comprehensive case possible.”
She continued, “While I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community, and communities across the country will rightfully be devastated and disappointed, we have to respect this decision.”
Last March, Prude was having a mental health crisis when his brother called the Rochester police for help. He was taken to a hospital for a mental health assessment. A few hours later, he was released back into his family’s care. Prude suddenly ran into the street and took his clothes off. Once officers arrived at the scene, they placed him in handcuffs and put a hood over his face because he was spitting. They pressed his face into the pavement for almost two minutes.
Once Prude arrived at the hospital, his brother says he was brain-dead. He died on March 30 after his family took him off life support. Authorities did not release the police dash and body camera footage until months after the incident and emails revealed that police tried to cover up his death.
Attorneys Antonio Romanucci and Ben Crump, who represent the Prude family, say they are “deeply disappointed that the officers will not face criminal charges for killing Daniel Prude during what was clearly a mental health crisis as he lay naked in the cold streets with a spit hood they placed over his head.”
“This tragedy could have been avoided if officers had been properly trained, but also used basic human decency and common sense to treat Mr. Prude with compassion and get him the medical attention he deserved,” the attorneys said in a statement. “We will continue to advocate for justice in the civil courts, while also seeking federal police reform so that these continued tragedies against Black citizens end once and for all.”