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Daniel Prude's death similar to George Floyd? Video released 5 months later sparks outrage on the Internet

Prude’s family members and activists called his death a murder and further requested that the officers involved should be fired and charged with homicide
Daniel Prude (GoFundMe)
Daniel Prude (GoFundMe)

A Black man died of suffocation in Rochester, NY, after police officers who were taking him into custody put a hood over his head and then pressed his face onto the pavement for two minutes, according to a video and records released by his family and local activists on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

Daniel Prude, 41, died on March 30, 2020, seven days after his encounter with the Rochester police, as he was removed from life support. As CBS 2 Investigator, Megan Hickey reported that Prude was a Chicago resident visiting Rochester where his brother called the police because he was having mental health issues. From there to the moments leading up to his eventual death were all captured on police body cameras. The New York State attorney general, Letitia James, and the Rochester police chief said they were conducting inquiries into Prude's death. The officers involved are still on the force.

Prude’s family had called 911 on March 23, 2020, after he began to experience some mental health problems leading him to run through the streets before Rochester police officers detained him. The video, first reported by the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, shows Prude naked with his hands behind his back. He is standing on the pavement with handcuffs, shouting, before officers put a hood on his head, apparently in an effort to prevent him from spitting on them as at that time New York was in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. When the police placed the hood over his head Prude becomes agitated and starts shouting, “give me that gun, give me that gun," after that the three officers push him to the ground. Later, one officer places his hands on Prude's head and holds him against the pavement, another officer places a knee on his back, all this while, the hood remained on his head. One officer repeatedly tells Mr Prude to “stop spitting” and to “calm down". After a few minutes, Prude is no longer moving or speaking, and the same officer can be heard asking, “You good, man?”

The officer then notices that Prude had vomited water onto the street. A paramedic is called over to perform CPR on him before he is taken into an ambulance. The Monroe County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint”, according to an autopsy report. At a news conference on Wednesday, September 2, Prude’s family members and activists called his death a murder and further requested that the officers involved should be fired and charged with homicide. “The man is defenseless, butt-naked on the ground. He was cuffed up already,” said Prude’s brother, Joe Prude. “I mean, come on. How many more brothers need to die for society to understand that this needs to stop?” 

“These officers killed someone and are still patrolling in our community,” said Ashley Gantt, a local community organizer. What happened to Mr Prude was not an isolated episode, she added. “Daniel’s case is the epitome of what is wrong with this system.” Prude's encounter occurred two months before the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis that set off protests across the United States.

Protesters march in downtown Brooklyn over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer on June 05, 2020, in New York City
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

As soon as the video got released, people started drawing haunting similarities between the two brutal killings. "Daniel Prude was murdered by Rochester Police officers in the exact same way as George Floyd. Don’t let this fly under the radar in march two months before George Floyd, the Rochester police department killed Daniel Prude on a mental health check. they forced him down into the pavement. he later died in the hospital of asphyxia. change needs to be brought and justice needs to be served," a user wrote.



CBS Chicago's reporter, Megan Hickey shared the video of the incident and said, "Body cam video shows a man suffocating after being taken into police custody. We're not talking about George Floyd. We're talking about a 41 yo Chicago man, Daniel Prude, who died after being taken into custody in NY months earlier."


"Rochester tried to portray itself as a decent city. BLM protests rarely escalated, the cops were (largely) fine. They killed Daniel Prude 2 months before George Floyd's death. They killed a man who needed help," said another. Calling the similarities "haunting", another commented, "Both of these videos were hard to watch, but they showed the death of Daniel Prude had some haunting similarities to death of George Floyd."