Daniel Prude's children have filed a lawsuit against the Rochester Police Department. The lawsuit claims that local officers violated Prude's civil rights and alleges that officers attempted to cover-up key details regarding his death.
“My father had a hard life, but he was a great dad. He always showed me and my brother and sisters how much he loved us,” Prude's oldest son, Nathaniel McFarland, said.
“Our hearts are broken by his death, but this lawsuit has given us hope for the future.”
Prude died last year after a harrowing encounter with the police. Members of his family called the police to report that he was suffering from several mental health ailments. After encountering Prude, officials claim that he was spitting in their direction. As a result, the officers placed a "spit hood" over his head. Making matters worse, officers are accused of pressing his head down against the pavement as he struggled to breathe. Shortly after the encounter, Prude was pronounced dead. Initially, officers attempted to tie his death to a PCP overdose. However, medical professionals ruled that the primary cause for his death was “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
“His family sought help from the Rochester police, and that was a mistake — a fatal mistake. Instead of providing him with care and assistance, officers of the Rochester Police Department cruelly abused him, mocked him, and killed him,” the lawsuit states.
The video garnered national attention after body camera footage from the night of the encounter was shared with the public. Hundreds of outraged citizens crowded the Rochester streets in protest.
Last month, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced that a grand jury declined to charge any of the officers involved in the encounter. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York’s office has begun its own review of the case. Results of their investigation have not yet been shared with the public.
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