In the United States, another black man has died, presumably as a result of police brutality. The incident happened already in March and was recorded by the bodycams of the officers on the spot.
When he was arrested in Rochester, in the north of New York State, a bag was pulled over the head of 41-year-old Daniel Prude. Then his head was pressed to the ground for minutes.
Here’s the arrest:
The news is only coming out now because the man’s next of kin have released the footage. Prude died on March 30th in the hospital with suffocation as the cause of death, a week after the collision with the police. That was two months before George Floyd died, which was the beginning of major anti-racism protests.
The seven agents involved in Prude’s arrest have been suspended. The mayor of Rochester has called the incident a “racist act.”
Prude was visiting his brother on March 23rd. He ran out at one point in a confused state and naked. His brother then called the police. The day before, Prude was taken to hospital because he was said to be mentally ill and suicidal.
“I called the police so they could help my brother, not lynch him,” his brother Joe said at the press conference where the footage was released. “How come they didn’t immediately see that he was defenseless? He was poodle naked and tied up,” his brother said. “How many more brothers have to die before society understands that this has to stop?”, he wondered out loud.
American correspondent Arjen van der Horst says he is not very surprised that images of a black man being arrested with a heavy hand are coming out again. “There is a long history of police violence against black people here,” he explains. “The big difference between the past and the present is that everything can be filmed by anyone. That’s why it’s much more visible now.”
Cooperate with police
The footage shows that the naked Prude initially cooperates with the police and keeps his hands on his back. He becomes irritated when he sits on the ground and starts calling for the weapon of a policeman. “Give me your gun, I need it”, he shouts.
Just before that, he was given a bag over his head to make sure he could not spit. It was in the early days of corona in New York. Prude demands that it be dropped off and at that moment he is pushed to the ground and urged to stop spitting.
His head was pressed to the ground for two minutes. Then the bag is removed before he is ventilated and put into an ambulance.
“Whether there is racism from white cops to a black man in this particular case is difficult to judge,” says Van der Horst. “But there is a system in which black people are disadvantaged. From exclusion on the labour market, poor housing facilities to lack of care. It’s ingrained in American society.”
“Of course, other minorities and white Americans also have to deal with police violence, but with black people it is often the most violent.”
Whether this case will get as much attention as the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha or the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, is difficult to estimate.
“But I do expect the Black Lives Matter betogers to use this to show that in their eyes the police are not fit to deal with confused people. I’m sure they’ll say that policemen with weapons shouldn’t rely on such reports, but that specially trained aid workers should.”