A black man died of suffocation in Rochester, United States, in March after a group of police officers put a hood over his head and then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records released by the man’s family.
Daniel Prude died on March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester, New York state.
His death did not receive public attention until Wednesday, when his family held a news conference and released police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.
Prude’s brother, Joe, said he called 911 on March 23 after his sibling, who was visiting from Chicago, ran out of their home in an erratic state.
Just the day before, Rochester police had taken Daniel Prude into custody for a mental health evaluation after he reported suicidal thoughts.
The videos show Prude, who had taken off his clothes, complying when police asked him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back.
Prude is agitated and shouting as he sits on the pavement in handcuffs for a few moments as a light snow falls.
Then, they put a white “spit hood” over his head, a device intended to protect officers from a detainee’s saliva. At the time, New York was in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
A medical examiner concluded that Prude’s death was 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.
The death is now under investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.