Bodycam footage revealing the death of Daniel Prude, who died of asphyxiation following the use of a "spit hood," raises questions and further criticism toward police.
With many having already lost trust in the police, another disturbing video has surfaced to further the divide. On March 23rd, a black man named Daniel Prude was arrested and taken into custody in Rochester, New York. CNN reports that Prude was in the middle of having a "mental episode," which prompted his brother Joe to call the police for assistance. After they arrived on the scene, they proceeded to handcuff Prude while kneeling on his prone body, after which he stopped breathing. Upon arriving at the hospital fifteen minutes later, doctors declared Prude to be brain dead.
Months later, bodycam video of Prude's arrest has surfaced and with it come a slew of new questions. In the disturbing footage, which was given to CNN by Prude's attorneys, Prude can be seen standing naked in the street at 3:16 AM. Despite being unarmed and reportedly repeating the phrase "in Jesus Christ I pray, amen," a police officer demanded that Prude lower himself to the ground -- all while pointing a taser at the man. The report indicates that Prude did as he was told, saying "yes sir" as the officer handcuffed him.
After more officers arrive, one equips Prude's head with a mesh "spit hood," which CNN clarifies is designed to prevent "spitting or biting." It appears that this sent Prude into distress, and was quickly swarmed by three police officers. Upon being forcefully restrained, he began to panic and eventually vomit. The NY Post quotes one of the officers as saying "he’s puking, just straight water. You see all that water that came out of his mouth? My man, you puking?" Another says "He started throwing up, now it looks like he doesn't even have chest compressions." Note that their tone, which many have deemed to be mocking and generally demeaning, has been a major point of criticism.
Following this complication, the police called for an EMT, and Prude was given chest compressions. Despite the efforts, Prude remained non-responsive. Upon being placed on life support, Prude was taken off one week later. His death was pronounced a homicide due to "complications of asphyxia in the setting of a physical restraint." Following the release of the video, however, his family and the community at large were left disturbed by the conduct of the officers on scene. Attorneys cite that they "mocked and teased Daniel" while he was incapacitated, and his family has since been considering a wrongful death lawsuit.
"How many more brothers got to die for society to understand that this needs to stop," Joe Prude stated, following his brother's death. "And I can't even share with y'all the pain that I'm feeling, and my family is going through as well." As of now, New York state's attorney general confirmed that an investigation is ongoing -- the names of officers involved have yet to be confirmed by CNN, though it should be noted that none of them have been suspended as of yet. "No questions when everyone sees body cam videos, they are going to see a murder," says Prude's attorney, echoing Joe Prude's claim that his brother's death was a "cold-blooded murder."