A Black man died in March after police restrained him on the ground and covered his head with a hood, according to a body-worn-camera video released by his family on Wednesday.
The incident happened on 23 March, when Daniel Prude, 41, was visiting his brother in Rochester, New York.
According to his family’s lawyers, Prude was going through an “acute, manic, psychotic episode” and received a mental health evaluation at a hospital, from where he was released that night.
Joe Prude dialed the Rochester Police Department for help at 3 a.m. after his brother ran out the back door while Joe was out of the room.
At around 3:15 a.m., Daniel Prude was found running naked through the streets of the city. According to bodycam footage, Prude complied with police orders to lay on the ground and put his hands behind his back.
Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers
Officers then put a hood over Daniel’s head and handcuff him. One officer later explained that they used the hood because he was spitting continuously in their direction and they were concerned about coronavirus.
Prude appears to behave erratically as he spits at the officers with the hood on and yells at them to give their guns to him.
The cops then press his head to the pavement. One officer holds Prude’s head down with both hands, saying “calm down” and “stop spitting”. Another officer kneels on his back.
They pin him down for several minutes, and Prude’s voice becomes muffled until he eventually stops moving and falls silent. “He’s puking. Just straight water,” one cop is heard saying.
When an officer asks, “You good, man?” and Prude doesn’t respond, the officer stops pressing his head against the ground.
When paramedics arrive at the scene, one officer takes off the hood and Prude is rolled over and given CPR. The police then uncuff the unconscious man and get him onto a gurney.
Prude was pronounced brain dead and passed away on 30 March after being removed from life support.
The cause of death was listed as “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” as well excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, a mind-altering drug also known as PCP or angel dust.
“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched,” Joe Prude said at a news conference on Wednesday. “How did you see him and not directly say, ‘The man is defenceless, buck naked on the ground. He’s cuffed up already. Come on.’ How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren offered her condolences to the family. “I want everyone to understand that at no point in time did we feel that this was something that we wanted not to disclose,” she said, adding that an investigation is ongoing.
Prude’s family has called for the officers involved in the incident to be fired and face murder charges.