Agents involved in the death of a 41-year-old black man in Rochester, New York, United States, are not prosecuted. According to a so-called grand jury, there is not enough evidence to charge the officers with the death of Daniel Prude.
The incident took place last year in March, but footage of it came out in September after there had been protests across America because of George Floyd‘s death. The footage showed Prude running naked across the street. When he started spitting on the floor, cops pulled a bag over his head, shackled him and pressed him against the floor for two minutes until he stopped breathing. A week later, he died.
After publication of the footage, there were protests in Rochester for days. The city’s police top decided to leave, and the prosecutor set up a grand jury.
According to the coroner, Prude was under the influence of PCP, a drug that‘s going to hallucinate you. That contributed to the death of Prude, in addition to “complications of suffocation due to a situation of physical disability”.
“The system let him down.”
The agents’ defence is that they used a permitted method at Prude: segmenting. In doing so, an arrested man is kept in control by head and plea. However, that method is only permitted to be able to put on handcuffs.
Public Prosecutor Letitia James of the State of New York has said to be “extremely disappointed” in the grand jury‘s decision: “The judicial system is counteracting attempts to hold law enforcement officers responsible for the unlawful killing of black Americans.” She also believes that agents should be trained to recognize the state Prude was in. A delirium due to PCP more often leads to cardiac arrest. If agents had recognized that, they might have acted differently, James reasoned.
Daniel Prude’s family also responded reports to the news. “The system has abandoned him,” said family lawyer, Elliot Shields.