Daniel Prude's children file lawsuit alleging wrongful death

Daniel Prude's children file lawsuit alleging wrongful death
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The children of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after Rochester, N.Y., police restrained him with a hood over his head during a mental health episode, announced a federal lawsuit against the city on Monday.

In their lawsuit, the family members allege the city and the police department violated Prude’s civil rights with both his arrest and an “attempted cover-up,” The Associated Press reported.

“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,” Nathaniel McFarland, Prude’s oldest son, said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken by his death, but this lawsuit has given us hope for the future.”

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“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 complaint states.

Police responded to a call that Prude was walking the streets naked on March 23, and put a full-face “spit hood” on his head while holding him face down on the pavement. The officers said they put the hood on Prude because he was spitting and they were worried about getting the coronavirus. 

Police initially said a PCP overdose was the cause of Prude’s death, but while a county medical examiner determined the drug was a contributing factor, it found the cause of death was “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”

Although Prude died before George Floyd’s death that May, the body camera footage of his death did not become public until September.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced in February that a grand jury had declined to charge any of the seven officers involved in Prude’s arrest. A review by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York’s office is ongoing.

The Hill has reached out to the city of Rochester for comment.