A grand jury voted not to indict any of the seven Rochester, New York police officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude. New York Attorney General Leticia James announced the jury’s decision not to bring criminal charges against the officers on Tuesday (February 23), sparking protests in the city.
Daniel Prude died on March 22, 2020 after police officers, who were called to respond to a mental health emergency, restrained him, and pinned him on the ground. Body camera footage that captured the incident was released several months later in September. His death was ruled a homicide by medical examiners who determined his cause of death was complications from asphyxia.
“Daniel Prude was in the throes of a mental health crisis and what he needed was compassion, care, and help from trained professionals,” James said in a statement.
Following the grand jury’s decision, James and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren echoed frustration and calls for reforms in police responses.
In the wake of Prude’s death, several members of leadership within the Rochester Police Department were fired or stepped down.
In an effort to provide transparency in the case, James’ office has released a comprehensive report of events. The public may be granted access to the court proceedings to get more clarity around how the grand jury came to this decision, which Mayor Warren relayed is “hard for many of us to understand.”
The move, which is not typical in a grand jury case, is “a critical step in effecting the change that is so desperately needed,” James said on Twitter.
Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who are representing Prude’s family, expressed that they are “deeply disappointed” in a joint statement.
“This tragedy could have been avoided if officers had been properly trained but also used basic human decency and common sense to treat Mr. Prude with compassion and get him the medical attention he deserved,” the statement said. “We will continue to advocate for justice in the civil courts, while also seeking federal police reform so that these continued tragedies against Black citizens end once and for all.”
Photo: Getty Images