The cops who positioned a mesh hood on a Black man final 12 months and pressed his head down till he misplaced consciousness won’t be charged in his loss of life, officers stated Tuesday, after a grand jury convened to research the case declined to convey an indictment.
The killing of the person, Daniel Prude, in Rochester, N.Y., touched off intense protests in that metropolis and others throughout a nationwide reckoning round racism and brutality in policing. Mr. Prude’s loss of life was considered one of many cases through which Black males died in police custody lately.
Public information confirmed that the Rochester Police Division sought to hide the circumstances — captured in graphic police physique digital camera footage — of Mr. Prude’s loss of life. The case led to the dismissal of the town’s police chief.
“We sought a distinct end result than the one the grand jury handed us right now,” stated New York’s legal professional common, Letitia James, who convened the panel to research Mr. Prude’s loss of life.
Ms. James, talking at a information convention at Aenon Missionary Baptist Church in Rochester, expressed clear disappointment with the consequence.
“The felony justice system has demonstrated an unwillingness to carry legislation enforcement officers accountable within the unjustified killing of unarmed African-Individuals,” Ms James stated. “What binds these instances is the tragic lack of life in circumstances through which the loss of life could possibly be averted.”
Mr. Prude, 41, was visiting his brother in Rochester in March when he had an obvious psychotic episode. He bumped into the road bare and was handcuffed by officers. Mr. Prude, who had advised at the very least one passer-by that he had the coronavirus, started spitting, and the officers responded by pulling a mesh hood over his head.
When he tried to stand up, the officers pressured Mr. Prude facedown on the bottom, considered one of them pushing his head to the pavement, police physique digital camera footage confirmed. The police held Mr. Prude down for 2 minutes, and he needed to be resuscitated. He died within the hospital every week later, on March 30. His loss of life was later dominated a murder.
However the circumstances of Mr. Prude’s loss of life didn’t change into public till September, and solely after legal professionals for his household pushed for the discharge of physique digital camera footage.
“These incidents have challenged public belief and confidence in our felony justice system, and historical past has sadly repeated itself as soon as once more within the loss of life of Daniel Prude,” Ms. James stated.
However her announcement confirmed that there could be no expenses for any of the seven officers concerned: Officers Josiah Harris, Francisco Santiago, Paul Ricotta, Andrew Specksgoor, Mark Vaughn and Troy Taladay and Sgt. Michael Magri.
The killing set off protests throughout Rochester, a small metropolis simply south of Lake Ontario. At factors, cops in riot gear fired chemical irritants on the demonstrators, most of whom remained peaceable.
Concrete limitations shaped a bolstered perimeter round Rochester’s Public Security Constructing on Tuesday as phrase unfold that an announcement concerning the case was imminent.
In Rochester, Mr. Prude’s killing upended the political order.
Data launched in an inside assessment of the episode appeared to point out that Rochester officers had tried for months to suppress video footage of the encounter, and misrepresented the reason for his loss of life.
“We definitely are not looking for folks to misread the officers’ actions and conflate this incident with any current killings of unarmed Black males by legislation enforcement nationally,” a deputy Rochester police chief wrote in a June 4 electronic mail to his boss, advising him to not launch the footage to the Prude household’s lawyer. “That will merely be a false narrative, and will create animosity and probably violent blowback on this group because of this.”
The police chief replied minutes later: “I completely agree.”
For months, Mr. Prude’s loss of life had been introduced in police accounts as a deadly drug overdose. In his post-mortem, Mr. Prude was discovered to have PCP, often known as angel mud, in his system. However the reason for Mr. Prude’s loss of life, the medical expert decided, was asphyxia.
Mayor Pretty Warren, who had already suspended the seven officers, fired the police chief and suspended a number of metropolis workers members shortly after the revelations.
This month, Ms. Warren submitted a draft proposal for sweeping modifications to the police power, following an govt order requiring communities throughout the state to research methods to reimagine policing.
Ms. James’ investigation was made potential by a 2015 govt order that empowered the legal professional common to research and prosecute cops when an unarmed civilian is killed. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the order after a grand jury declined to indict the New York Metropolis police officer who held Eric Garner, a Black man from Staten Island, in a chokehold till he died.
Ms. James stated that her workplace would pursue a number of reforms to policing aimed partially at addressing limitations to “holding officers accountable who use lethal power with out justification,” together with elevating requirements on when the usage of power by officers is deemed acceptable. “The cornerstone of this effort is to amend the use-of-force legislation from considered one of subjective, easy necessity to considered one of absolute last-resort,” Ms. James stated. “Our aim is to protect lives.”
Dan Higgins contributed reporting from Rochester, and Troy Closson from New York.