The children of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after Rochester, New York police officers detained him and placed a spit hood over his head during a mental health crisis, filed a federal lawsuit against the city alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.
According to The Hill, the family announced the lawsuit on Monday (March 8). 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.”
“His family sought help from the Rochester police, and that was a mistake — a fatal mistake. Instead of providing him with care and assistance, officers of the Rochester Police Department cruelly abused him, mocked him and killed him,” the complaint states.
Last March, Rochester police officers were called to assist the family with Prude’s mental health crisis. After being taken to a hospital for a mental health assessment, he was released back into his family’s care. Prude suddenly ran into the street and took his clothes off. Once the officers arrived at the scene, they placed him in handcuffs and put a hood over his face to block him from 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.
The department did not release the police dash and body camera footage until months after the incident and emails revealed that they tried to cover up his death as a drug overdose. However, a medical examiner determined his cause of death was due to “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
Last month, REVOLT reported that the Rochester officers who were involved in Prude’s death would not be indicted for the killing. New York Attorney General Leticia James admitted that all Prude “needed was compassion, care and help from trained professionals,” but said he received none of those things. “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,” she added.