Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

Rochester protests erupt over death of Daniel Prude who 'suffocated when cops put HOOD on him'

PROTESTS have erupted over the death of a black man who suffocated when cops put a "spit hood" over his head and held him down.

Daniel Prude died after he was detained by police in Rochester, New York, for running through the streets naked on March 23.

Prude, who was suffering from acute mental health issues, was arrested walking naked and bleeding down Jefferson Avenue shortly after 3am.

This led to an 11-minute confrontation.

Prude passed away in hospital after being taken off life support seven days later but details of the incident have only just emerged, leading to widespread civil unrest in the city this week.

On Wednesday, cops fired pepper spray to disperse the crowd and sprayed tear gas into a group outside police headquarters, according to NPR.

Demonstrators also gathered at the scene of Prude's arrest, where a huge block party formed.

They said they'll stay there until the cops involved are fired, arrested, and prevented from responding to mental health calls, reports say.

Nine people were arrested on Wednesday after crowds gathered at the Rochester Public Safety Building on criminal trespass and resisting arrest charges.

India Maring, 20, Tarik Grandoit, 28, Sofi Wolfanger, 21, Iman Abid, 28, Ashley Gantt, 34, Taylor Howauth, 25, Breyana Clark, 21, Stanley Martin, 27, and Ryan Howe, 27, were all booked yesterday, reported Spectrum News.

"We want the larger community to know this is not something that happens in other cities, in other states, it happens right here in Rochester," said Ashley Gantt, a Black Lives Matter organizer.

Meanwhile, Prude's relatives have hit out over the shocking nature of the 41 year old's horrific death, which has sparked civil unrest on the streets of Rochester this week.

They are calling for the officers involved to be fired and arrested on murder charges after they put the hood over Prude's head to stop the spread of COVID-19 and held him down. Officer Mark Vaughn;

The cops – who were not disciplined or fired, according to the Prude family's attorney Elliot Shields – were named as Officer Paul Ricotta; Officer Andrew Specksgoor; Officer Josiah Harris; Officer Troy Talladay; and Sgt. Michael Magri.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Shields said his clients, Prude's family, "will sue everyone who is responsible for Daniel Prude's death."

The New York state Attorney General’s is probing the incident and Gov Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order in July to investigate it.

Prude's death was ruled a homicide caused by complications with asphyxiation "in the setting of physical restraint" by the medical examiner.

Excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP, were also listed as contributing factors, CBS Chicago reported.

On Wednesday, Prude's family released police body camera footage that showed the moments leading to his eventual death.

Police responded to a 911 call from Prude's brother who said Prude was experiencing a mental health issue.

Prude was originally from Chicago and was visiting Rochester at the time of the incident.

Prude had left his brothers home moments earlier wearing only long underwear, a tank top and socks.

He then began making his way down West Main Street, where he reportedly broke windows at a business, and started taking off his clothes.

The body camera footage shows Prude, unclothed, complying with police to put his hands behind his back and get on the ground.

The scene in the video appears to escalate as Prude yells and spits at officers while he was on the ground.

A white hood is seen on Prude's head as he demands to have it taken off.

One officer wrote that the hood was put on Prude as he was spitting in the direction of the officers and they were concerned about coronavirus.

An officer is seen pushing Prude's head into the pavement for over two minutes.

He told Prude to stop spitting while another officer places a knee on the naked man's back.

While Prude is restrained, his shouts appear to turn into grunts before water comes out of his mouth.

"You puking?" One of the officers asked, while another officer remarked that "he [Prude] feels pretty cold."

During his detainment, Prude remained naked and on the street before being loaded into an ambulance.

On Wednesday, Prude's family criticized the officer's actions during a news conference.

Prude was visiting family when they contacted the police because they feared he was suffering mental health issues.

"I placed a phone call for my brother to get help, not for my brother to get lynched," said Joe Prude.

"That was a full-fledged, ongoing murder. Cold blooded," he told reporters.

Prude died two months before George Floyd's police custody death in Minneapolis triggered widespread protests in major US cities during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In August, Jacob Blake, 29, was shot at least seven times by Kenosha cops in Wisconsin, leaving him paralyzed and several people dead during the subsequent riots.

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