Seven police officers suspended last year after putting a mesh hood on Daniel Prude until he lost consciousness will not face criminal charges following a grand jury vote, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.
The big picture: Police Chief La’Ron Singletary was fired following Prude’s death in Rochester, New York, which sparked dozens of nightly protests last September in the wake of a national reckoning in response to the deaths of Black men and women during police encounters.
What they’re saying: “While I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community, and communities across the country will rightfully be devastated and disappointed, we have to respect this decision,” James said in a statement.
- “The current laws on deadly force have created a system that utterly and abjectly failed Mr. Prude and so many others before him. Serious reform is needed, not only at the Rochester Police Department, but to our criminal justice system as a whole.”
Details: Prude’s autopsy report characterized his death as a homicide, arising from “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” Rochester First reported at the time. PCP was listed as a contributing factor to his death by a county medical examiner, the AP reports.
- The officers’ lawyers said they “were strictly following their training that night, employing a restraining technique known as ‘segmenting,'” per AP. They claim that Prude’s reported use of PCP served as the “root cause” of his death.
- Law enforcement was called after Prude experienced a mental health crisis, his brother told reporters at the time and James repeated on Tuesday.