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Rochester police who killed Daniel Prude during mental health crisis won’t face charges

A grand jury has decided Rochester, New York police officers will not be charged in the death of Daniel Prude, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.

In March 2020, Prude’s family called police after he ran out of their home and into freezing weather amid what seemed to be a mental health crisis. Video of the incident made public months later showed police putting a spit hood over Prude’s head and holding him down for several minutes. Prude’s death was later ruled a homicide by asphyxiation.

James expressed disappointment with the decision when revealing it at a Rochester church, saying she and her team had “sought a different outcome” when presenting Prude’s case to a grand jury. Her team had taken over prosecution of the case after it appeared the RPD had tried to downplay Prude’s killing to avoid “violent blowback,” and seemingly modified documents to make Prude, a Black man, seem more threatening.

The September release of the video of Prude’s death sparked protests in Rochester, continuing the wave of racial justice protests that had started earlier that summer. Rochester’s police chief and other top leaders stepped down at the time, and the officers involved in the case were suspended and have yet to be reinstated. Earlier this month, Rochester police also came under fire for pepper spraying a 9-year-old Black girl who wouldn’t get into their car.

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