Black man died from asphyxiation after being restrained by police

Activists have demanded murder charges be brought against a US police force after a black man died from suffocation while being pinned to the ground by officers.

Daniel Prude is the latest case of a black American to have died while at the hands of police officers in the US.

The father-of-five died in March aged 41 but his death only became public this week after his family released police bodycam footage that was taken during his arrest.

This is Daniel Prude. Court filing says he came to Rochester on March 22 to visit his brother. Court filing says he died on March 23.

— Berkeley Brean (@whec_bbrean) September 2, 2020

It comes after the deaths of black US citizens George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks whilst being detained by police, which triggered widespread protests in US cities which have spread around the world.

Last month, there were further protests after Jacob Blake, who is also black, was shot in the back seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

According to police reports, Mr Prude was brought into hospital for a mental health evaluation on 22 March after having suicidal thoughts.

His brother Joe then rang police hours later at about 3am after Mr Prude ran out of his house in Rochester, New York.

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A memorial honouring George Floyd in Houston's Third Ward where he grew up
Image:A memorial honouring George Floyd in Houston’s Third Ward where he grew up

The footage shows Mr Prude, who had taken off his clothes, complying when police ask him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back.

He is seen sitting on the ground naked, shouting to be freed before spitting on to the ground, which then prompts officers to put a spit hood over Mr Prude’s head.

They later said it was because they were concerned about coronavirus.

Mr Prude then writhes on the ground before sitting up and demanding to have one of the officer’s guns.

Three officers then slam his head into the ground and restrain him, and Mr Prude can be heard sobbing and asking for help.

One officer is then seen placing his knee on Mr Prude, but it’s not clear where he is placing it.

Mr Prude continues to cry for help before he goes silent.

8 minutes and 46 seconds: The Killing of George Floyd looks at how a black man died during his arrest by a white police officer in Minneapolis and the impact on global race relations.

Documentary: 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds

The officers then appear to become concerned when they notice water coming out of Mr Prude’s mouth and he is tended to by paramedics.

He later died in hospital on 30 March.

A medical examiner ruled Mr Prude’s death as a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint”.

The report lists “excited delirium” and “acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP”, as contributing factors.

In a press conference, his brother said: “I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched.

“How did you see him and not directly say, ‘the man is defenceless, buck naked on the ground. He’s cuffed up already. Come on’.

“How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”

Mr Prude, who was from Chicago and went by the nickname Rell, had been working at a warehouse within the last year.

Paying tribute to him, his aunt Letoria Moore said: “He was just a bright, loving person, just family-oriented, always there for us when we needed him.”

The state of New York stopped its own investigation into his death after the office of attorney general Letitia James began investigating. That investigation is still ongoing.

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Under New York law, deaths of unarmed people in police custody are often turned over to the attorney general’s office, rather than handled by local officials.

Rochester mayor Lovely Warren said at a press briefing: “I want everyone to understand that at no point in time did we feel that this was something that we wanted not to disclose.

“We are precluded from getting involved in it until that agency has completed their investigation.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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