The family of Daniel Prude are questioning the thoroughness of the state’s investigation of his death after seeing New York Attorney General Letitia James’ sexual misconduct report against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Prude, 41, died in March 2020 after police in Rochester covered his head with a spit hood, restraining the father of five onto the pavement and an officer pressing a knee onto his back. Police first described Prude’s death as a drug overdose, though body camera footage released months after his death revealed the harrowing details of the deadly encounter.
A grand jury declined to charge officers with crime, now Prude’s family is wondering how thorough of a job the state’s top lawyer did with the investigation.
“What the investigation into Andrew Cuomo shows is that when her office wants to put resources towards conducting a thorough investigation, they know how to do that,” Elliot Shields, a lawyer representing Prude’s family told NBC News.
“If her office had put the same focus and determination into securing an indictment of the police officers who killed Daniel Prude that they did towards bringing down Andrew Cuomo, they would’ve gotten an indictment,” Shields added.
One New York defense lawyer compared James to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who failed to get an indictment in the murder of Breonna Taylor.
"Essentially, she had done exactly what Daniel Cameron had done in Breonna Taylor's case, but because she is a Democrat who is considered a progressive, it seems her actions weren't questioned," Rebecca J. Kavanagh told NBC News. Kavanagh said James "essentially threw the case against the cops who killed Daniel Prude in exactly the same way Daniel Cameron did the cops who killed Breonna Taylor, and no one really blinked."
James’ office released a 165-page report documenting allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo from 11 women. The long-time governor stepped down following the report’s release.