Prude lost his life in March after a Rochester police officer covered his head with a “spit hood” and then suffocated him for two minutes. He died a week later.
The medical examiner’s report cites “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” as the cause of death. The report also notes that “excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP” was a contributing factor.
In April, the police department cleared the officers in an internal investigation and concluded that the “actions and conduct displayed when dealing with Prude appear to be appropriate and consistent with their training.”
“The Prude family and the Rochester community have been through great pain and anguish,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, originally put in a call to police after expressing concern for his brother’s wellbeing since he was just recently released from the hospital for having suicidal thoughts.
Police found Prude naked in the street, put him in handcuffs, and then pressed his head into the pavement with a hood on. The devastating incident was caught on video and sparked outrage across the country.
As the attorney general’s office sometimes takes on investigations involving the deaths of unarmed people in police custody, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on James to expedite the probe earlier this week.
“Today, I applaud Attorney General Tish James for taking swift, decisive action in empaneling a grand jury,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Justice delayed is justice denied and the people of New York deserve the truth.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, however, are being called to resign by some residents. Demonstrators, who have been marching every night since Wednesday (Sept. 3) when footage of the incident was released, point out the police are unable to handle people with mental health issues and are demanding for more accountability.