Joe Prude called the police for help. His brother was acting strangely and had suddenly bolted out the back door.
But when Rochester police found Daniel Prude soon after, naked and walking in the street, they handcuffed him, mocked him, put a mesh bag over his head, knelt on his back, and pushed his face into the ground until he stopped breathing, police records and body camera video shared with The Appeal show. Prude, who is Black, was unarmed.
A week after the March incident that left him brain dead, Daniel Prude was pronounced dead, a lawyer representing his family said. Months later, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin would kneel on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, sparking nationwide protests over racism and police violence.
The video of Prude’s death, obtained by local racial justice group Free the People Roc, was made public for the first time Wednesday. It eerily echoes Floyd’s death—the officers ignore Prude’s cries for help and continue to kneel on him as he appears to stop breathing. Local advocates are asking how what police called a “mental hygiene arrest” turned deadly.
“It’s really been traumatic for the family to think that they called for help and this was the result,” said Stanley Martin, an organizer with Free the People Roc. “If someone calls for mental health assistance, murdering people should not be the result.”
The medical examiner determined Prude’s death was a homicide, caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” a report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner shows.
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