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US Daniel Prude death: Grand jury votes not to indict Rochester officers

02:55  24 february  2021
02:55  24 february  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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A grand jury voted not to indict any officers in the death of Daniel Prude , a Black man who died after police pinned him to the ground in March, New York Attorney General Leticia James said Tuesday.

A grand jury in New York state voted not to indict police officers for the death of Daniel Prude , a Black man who died of asphyxiation while in police custody in March 2020 in the city of Rochester , state Attorney General Letitia James said on Tuesday. "I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community and communities across the country will rightfully be disappointed this outcome," James said at a news conference in Rochester , a city in upstate New York. Citing the court-enforced secrecy surrounding grand - jury proceedings, James declined to say what charges her office had presented to

A grand jury voted not to indict any officers in the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after police pinned him to the ground in March, New York Attorney General Leticia James said Tuesday.

a dog looking at the camera: Daniel Prude's death was ruled a homicide by the Monroe County Medical examiner, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by lawyers for his family. © Family photo/WHAM Daniel Prude's death was ruled a homicide by the Monroe County Medical examiner, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by lawyers for his family.

"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.

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Daniel Prude , who had mental health issues, died in Rochester city after officers put him in "spit hood" designed to protect police. The death in March last year led to days of protests against police. On Tuesday, New York's attorney general said a grand jury had declined to indict any officers in the case. A grand jury is set up by a prosecutor to determine whether there is enough evidence to pursue a prosecution. In legal terms, it determines whether probable cause exists to believe a crime has been committed. Ms James expressed disappointment with the grand jury 's verdict, alluding to other

And now Daniel Prude ,” James later added. Lawyers for the seven police officers suspended over Prude ’s death have said the officers were strictly following their training that night, employing a restraining technique known as “segmenting.” They claimed Prude ’s use of PCP, which caused The video made public on Sept. 4 shows Prude handcuffed and naked with a spit hood over his head as an officer pushes his face against the ground, while another officer presses a knee to his back. The officers held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. He was taken off life support

"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," James said.

James said laws on deadly force have "created a system that utterly and abjectly failed Mr. Prude and so many others before him."

"Serious reform is needed, not only at the Rochester Police Department, but to our criminal justice system as a whole," said James, who started an investigation of the case in April.

Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who are representing Prude's family, said they're "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."

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Police officers shown on body camera video holding Daniel Prude down naked and handcuffed on a city street last winter until he stopped breathing will not face criminal charges, according to a grand jury decision announced Tuesday. The 41-year-old Black man’s death last March sparked nightly “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,” James said in a prepared release. “Serious reform is needed, not only at the Rochester Police Department, but to our criminal

None of the Rochester police officers suspended over the death of Daniel Prude will face criminal charges a grand jury just declined to hand up an indictment . New York Attorney General Letitia James expressed disappointment in the decision, and slammed the system as a whole saying "I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community and communities across the country will rightfully be disappointed by this outcome." As we reported, 7 Rochester cops were suspended in September after video was released of the 41-year-old Black man being detained on March 23

"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."

In a statement, the US Justice Department said: "We intend to review the comprehensive report issued by the New York State Attorney General, as well as any other relevant materials, and will determine whether any further federal response is warranted."

Attorney urges city to push reforms, not punish officers

The officers involved in the Prude case will remain on leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said in a statement via Twitter.

New York grand jury votes not to indict police officers for Daniel Prude death

  New York grand jury votes not to indict police officers for Daniel Prude death New York grand jury votes not to indict police officers for Daniel Prude deathPrude's family obtained body-worn camera footage of Prude's death, which they released in September, that showed him naked in a snowy street, a so-called mesh "spit hood" placed over his head.

New York's attorney general has said a grand jury will be formed to investigate the death of Daniel Prude , an unarmed black man who suffocated after being restrained by police. Mr Prude - who suffered from mental health issues - died after officers put him in a "spit hood", designed to protect police The 41-year-old died in March however his death has only just been reported. Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement: "The Prude family and the Rochester community have been through great pain and anguish. My office will immediately move to empanel a grand jury as part of our exhaustive

Daniel Prude , 41, arrived in Rochester . N.Y., shortly before his encounter with the police, and quickly began behaving erratically, his brother said. After Mr. Prude ’s death , an unofficial police narrative took hold that Mr. Prude had suffered an overdose while in police custody. The Rochester Police Department offered no public comment in Mr. Prude ’s death and for months treated it as an overdose. An internal investigation by the Police Department in late April quickly cleared the officers involved of wrongdoing.

Mayor Lovely Warren said the decision is "hard for many of us to understand" but that the city will make sure Prude's death was not in vain.

"Today's findings will not undo the damage done nor bring Mr. Prude back to his loved ones. And, we extend our fullest prayers and condolences to his children and his family," Warren said in a statement.

Warren urged the community to come together behind reforms being implemented in the police department.

The Rochester Police Locust Club, which represents the officers, declined to comment pending the ongoing investigation.

CNN has sought comment from attorneys for the officers in the case.

Matthew Rich, who represents several officers who were suspended last year, said the decision was a "long time coming."

"We've been eagerly awaiting this, and we aren't surprised by it," he said of the decision. "We are glad the grand jury made the right decision, but this doesn't put an end to the situation the community finds itself."

Attorney James Nobles, who represents another officer, said the city should seek policy changes within the department rather than punish individual officers.

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AG pushes changes in use-of-force laws and other reforms

James said she will push for changes to state use-of-force laws and other reforms, including mandatory training on deescalation techniques and the handling of mental health and medical emergencies.

"The criminal justice system has frustrated efforts to hold law enforcement officers accountable for the unjustified killing of African Americans," James said. "And what binds these cases is a tragic loss of life in circumstances in which the death could have been avoided... And history has unfortunately repeated itself again in the case of Daniel Prude."

The attorney general said she planned to meet with Prude's brother.

Police dash and body camera footage, released to the public months after the incident, showed officers handcuffing a naked Prude and covering his head with a "spit sock" after he claimed he had the coronavirus and was spitting.

The officers held him and pushed him to the ground in a prone position, according to the video, which also showed officers kneeling on Prude.

EMTs arrived later and began to perform chest compressions, the video showed. Prude was placed on a gurney and into an ambulance.

When Prude arrived at the hospital, he was brain dead, according to his brother. He died a week later.

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Seven police officers involved in the arrest were suspended. The police union has insisted the officers followed their training and protocols.

Prude, 41, was having a mental health episode on March 23 when his brother Joe called the Rochester Police Department for help, his family told reporters.

Prude's death was ruled a homicide by the Monroe County Medical examiner, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by lawyers for his family. The report cited complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint as a finding. The report also cited excited delirium and acute PCP intoxication as causes of death.

Family members connected his March death -- two months before George Floyd's death in similar circumstances -- to the movement against police violence toward Black people. Protests erupted in Rochester after the body cam footage was released.

The death also raised questions about how police respond to cases involving people in a mental health crisis. Police are often the first to respond to reports of a person acting erratically, and they occasionally use police tactics or force in their response.

The Rochester City Council in September authorized subpoena power to a New York City law firm leading the independent investigation into the city's handling of the case -- particularly whether there was internal cover-up, and how information about Prude's death was kept from the public in the city in western New York.

In September, the city released 325 pages of internal emails, police reports and other documents that showed a concerted effort by police and city officials to delay the release of incriminating body camera footage.

In one released police incident report, among many edits, some prosaic, Prude's name is written in the space labeled "Victim." Prude's name is circled in red, next to a large, handwritten note: "Make him a suspect."

Warren pushed out the police chief ahead of his retirement and suspended two other city employees.

Prude's sister in September filed suit in federal court against the former police chief, 13 officers and the city, claiming in part a department cover-up of the death.

The former police chief, La'Ron Singletary, said earlier this month that he didn't see anything "egregious" or any criminal conduct from police officers when he first watched body camera video of the incident. He testified in a virtual deposition to an independent investigator.

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