One of the seven New York officers who were involved in the suffocation death of Daniel Prude will face departmental discipline.
According to The New York Times, the Rochester Police Department announced the charges against Officer Mark Vaughn on Thursday (Sept. 23), becoming the first to be filed against any of the cops who were involved in Prude’s death. “The Department fully supports Officer Vaughn’s right to due process and to defend himself against the charges, of which no pre-determined outcome has been put in place,” the department reportedly wrote. “A formal hearing will be scheduled in the future.”
Last March, Vaughn and other officers responded to a 911 call about Prude, who was having a mental health crisis, allegedly running through the streets naked, screaming that he had COVID-19. Once the officers confronted him, they placed a spit hood over his head to stop him from spitting at them.
Prude was then pinned to the ground until he became unconscious. After being resuscitated, he was put on life support and died a week later. Body camera footage showed Vaughn leaning on Prude’s head with his feet on the ground. The officer stayed in that position for over a minute, according to the outlet.
Seven officers were suspended last year for their involvement in Prude’s death. However, in February, a grand jury declined to indict any of the cops due to a lack of evidence.
In March, Prude’s children filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations. They believe the officers and the city violated their father’s civil rights with his arrest and their “attempted cover-up.”
“My father had a hard life, but he was a great dad. He always showed me and my brother and sisters how much he loved us,” Nathaniel McFarland, Prude’s oldest son, said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken by his death, but this lawsuit has given us hope for the future.”