What to Know
- Daniel Prude, 41, ran naked through the streets of Rochester and died after a group of police officers put a hood over his head and pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records
- The father of five children had been taken into custody for a mental health evaluation about eight hours before the encounter that led to his death
- His death received no 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
The NYPD says it is trying to find a car that drove through a group of protesters in Times Square amid demonstrations over the death of a man who suffocated after police in Rochester put a “spit hood” over his head earlier this year.
Video posted on social media shows the black Taurus sedan careening down West 46th Street, its horn blaring, as demonstrators scrambled out of the way. No one appeared to be seriously injured.
At one point, social media users who saw the video speculated about whether the vehicle was an unmarked police car because it had a push bar, also commonly known as a bullbar or push bumper, that’s found on NYPD vehicles and other SUVs. The NYPD tweeted clearly, “This auto is NOT an NYPD vehicle,” and said no complaints had been filed in the incident. The investigation is ongoing.
The NYPD says it is trying to locate a car that drove through a group of protesters blocking a street in Times Square. NBC New York’s Katherine Creag reports.
Earlier in the evening, police surrounded a small group of counterprotesters wearing “Keep America Great” hats, and the groups exchanged heated words. The driver in the sedan was later found to be a part of the group of counterprotesters, police said.
Protesters were demonstrating over the death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude, a Black man who died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the “spit hood” encounter with police in Rochester. He had been taken into custody for a mental health evaluation about eight hours before the confrontation.
His death received no 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.
A Rochester, New York, family is demanding justice after their brother, Daniel Prude, died as he was restrained by police during a mental health call. Footage released by Rochester police and provided to NBC by Prude’s family showed a part of what happened to Prude on March 30 before he died.
The New York City protest was one of several across the country Thursday, as Prude’s family’s news conference the day earlier reignited calls for racial justice. There was also a protest in Rochester, where some violent encounters with police were reported. Several people were arrested there.
Family members have described Prude, of Chicago, as a loving father of five who had been traumatized by the recent deaths of his mother and a brother and had gone to Rochester in March to visit his brother, to whom he felt close.
At some point during that visit, he ran naked through the streets and a group of police officers put the hood over his head and pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records. One officer said that the cops put the white spit hood on Prude because he was spitting continuously in the direction of officers and they were concerned about coronavirus.
The hoods are intended to protect officers from a detainee’s saliva and have been scrutinized as a factor in the deaths of several prisoners in the U.S. and other countries in recent years.
The city of Rochester halted its investigation into Prude’s death when state Attorney General Letitia James’ office began its own investigation in April. As outraged mounted Thursday, the mayor of Rochester said seven police officers involved in Prude’s death had been suspended. She claimed she was misled for months about the deadly encounter.
In a separate statement Thursday, James said her office is continuing to investigate Prude’s death. She added the state had never asked the city of Rochester nor the Rochester Police Department to refrain from launching an internal investigation.
“In fact, we encourage both Rochester and the RPD to proceed with an internal review simultaneous to our investigation,” James said. “The Prude family and the greater Rochester community deserve answers, and we will continue to work around the clock to provide them.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also issued a statement regarding Prude’s death, saying in part: “For the sake of Mr. Prude’s family and the greater Rochester community I am calling for this case to be concluded as expeditiously as possible. For that to occur we need the full and timely cooperation of the Rochester Police Department and I trust it will…