Attorney on the RPD body cam video showing arrest of Daniel Prude: ‘They’re going to see a murder’
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A family is demanding justice after they say their brother, Daniel Prude, died after he was arrested by RPD.
The incident that set Wednesday’s events into motion happened back in March, two months before the death of George Floyd.
The family’s attorney says the autopsy ruled the death of Prude to be a homicide and the principle cause was asphyxiation. The autopsy also found traces of the drug PCP.
Prude lived in Chicago but came to Rochester on March 22 to visit his brother. A police report and the family’s lawyer says Prude took the train but was removed from the train in Buffalo. Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, picked him up in Buffalo and drove him to Rochester.
That same say, Joe Prude says he checked his brother into Strong Memorial Hospital because of mental health concerns. Joe Prude says Strong discharged Prude three hours later. Joe Prude says he called 911 when his brother left his house after midnight on March 23.
Prude was found naked and lying on Jefferson Avenue, between Cady Street and Dr. Samuel McCree Way.
It was snowing and 32 degrees.
Less than 10 minutes after he was handcuffed, the RPD body camera video obtained by News10NBC shows Prude stopped breathing.
At 3:16 a.m., several Rochester police officers arrived at the scene.
Officer: "Hey, get on the ground. Get on the ground."
Prude’s brother called 911 worried that his brother was having a mental breakdown.
The video shows Prude followed police orders.
Officer: "Put your hands behind your back."
Daniel Prude: "Yes sir."
Officer: "Don’t move. Chill out man. Don’t move."
DP: "Yes sir."
When they handcuffed him, the video shows blood on Prude’s wrist. A police report says Prude smashed some windows on Jefferson Avenue before police arrived.
In the video, police say Prude said he had coronavirus and he was spitting so police put a spit bag over his head.
Officer: "I’m going to MHA (mental health arrest) him."
Officer: "Yeah. (laughter)"
At multiple moments during the recording, you can hear several police officers laugh.
Two minutes after he was cuffed, Prude starts to sit up.
Officer: "Do not get up. Stay down."
Two minutes after that, officers start putting their hands on Prude. Prude’s voice is muffled and high pitched.
Prude: "You’re trying to kill me. (muffled, high pitched)"
Officer: "Stop. Calm down. Stop calm down."
Three minutes later, Prude stops moving.
Officer: "Roll him over on his side."
The order comes to uncuff Prude but you can hear officers in the video say they can’t find the key. The EMT’s are called in.
EMT: "Does he have a pulse?"
EMT: "Start CPR."
Prude was put in an ambulance. His brother says he was put on life support and died seven days later.
Joe Prude, brother of Daniel Prude: "You killed a defenseless Black man. A father’s son. A brother’s brother. A nephew’s uncle. If you want to know the truth, the video footage is going to show the truth."
One of Prude’s family’s lawyer was asked what people will see when they watch the body cam video.
Don Thompson, Prude family attorney: "They’re going to see a murder is what they’re going to see."
Stanley Martin from Free the People Roc, a chapter of Black Lives Matter, lead a news conference with Prude’s brother and attorneys on the steps of City Hall Wednesday morning.
Stanley Martin, Free the People Roc: "Less than 10 minutes after Mr. Prude was cuffed he uttered his last conscious breath."
Joe Prude: "How am I supposed to feel? You all got kids. You all got brothers. You all got nephews. How am I supposed to feel? Am I supposed to be angry? You’re damn right I’m angry."
Elliot Shields, family’s attorney: "Nobody granted him any basic humanity. And the pain that causes the family is unimaginable."
News10NBC obtained a three-page report by RPD called "Investigative Action Report." It is dated April 27. It says an internal review interviewed witnesses and watched the body camera video.
The report concludes "the officers’ actions and conduct displayed when dealing with prude appear to be appropriate and consistent with their training."
A document filed in New York State Surrogate Court says Prude’s family is preparing to sue the city for wrongful death.