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Protests in Rochester After Police Bodycam Footage Shows Daniel Prude's Murder

The streets of Rochester filled with protestors on the night of September 2nd after police bodycam footage of Daniel Prude’s arrest in March finally went public. In the video, Prude, a black man suffering an acute mental health episode possibly induced in-part by narcotics, has a spit hood placed over his head before having his face violently pressed into the asphalt for minutes. He suffocated to the point of brain death during the encounter and died a week later after his family decided to take him off life support.

Prude’s Arrest & Homicide

Daniel Prude was visiting his family when he ran out of their home frantically, a day after he was taken to the hospital for mental health difficulties. He was found shortly after a family member and a third party who saw Prude in the street called 911. Police reportedly decided to use a controversial spit hood on Prude when he would not stop spitting on them and after he allegedly claimed he had coronavirus. After Prude became unresponsive, a paramedic attempted to resuscitate him at the scene.

An autopsy would determine Prude’s cause of death as “complications of asphyxia [due to] physical restraint.” It was also labeled by the medical examiner as a homicide.

Protests in Daniel Prude’s Name

Protesters and Prude’s family want the officers involved in the incident to be arrested and charged for homicide, but it is not clear at this time if there is any intent to arrest the officers. It is also believed the officers have not been put on any form of suspension, either.

During the first night of protests that began at the Public Safety Building in Downtown Rochester, protestors also expressed frustrations that it took nearly 6 months for the bodycam footage to be released to Prude’s family and then to the public. During a police brutality incident, the preservation of evidence early into an investigation is crucial to ensure the claimants or plaintiffs have fair access to all proof of wrongdoing. A half-year delay to show a key piece of evidence raises tensions and concerns about the honesty or fairness of the criminal justice system whenever a police slaying is involved.

It is estimated that at least 100 protesters began the demonstration outside of the Public Safety Building and police station. The night has been reported as mostly peaceful, except for when police shot what might have been tear gas into the crowd. More protests in Rochester could be planned for the foreseeable future as energetic protests for the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others continue in cities across the nation.

(For more information about this developing story, you can click here and here to read full articles from The New York Times and Spectrum News, respectively.)

Suing the Police for Brutality & Excessive Force

To learn about filing a civil claim against the Rochester Police Department for excessive force, brutality, wrongful slayings, and other violations of your rights and those of others, you can call The Horn Wright, LLP at 855-465-4622. We can also work on claims filed against the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and other neighboring police departments in the entire Western Tier. Our attorneys proudly stand up for and amplify the voices of our clients who have been subjected to civil rights violations and abuses, who have lost a loved one to police brutality, and who deserve justice and compensation to find stability in their lives once again.

As Rochester locals, this matter hits home, so we will go above and beyond for the members of our community who need our legal help. We have additional law offices throughout New York, as well as in New Jersey and New Hampshire. If you need counsel and representation in any of these locations, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Consultations are always confidential, so schedule yours now.