Sept. 5 (UPI) — Rochester, N.Y., authorities said they arrested 11 people overnight after protests against the police-involved death of Daniel Prude turned violent, injuring three officers.
The Rochester Police Department said it charged three of the arrestees with first-degree rioting, a felony.
Demonstrators gathered late Friday and early Saturday at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to protest the death of Daniel Prude, 41. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle said more than 2,000 people participated in the protest, which started mostly peacefully.
Police said clashes broke out and protesters threw projectiles, injuring three officers who had cuts, swelling, burns and bruises.
Daniel Prude died in March 30, one week after police detained him during what the man’s family described as a mental health episode. Police body-worn camera footage of Daniel Prude’s encounter with officers was released this week.
The video prompted outcry by the Prude family and activists, who said the RPD should be better trained to handle mental health crises. Others linked Daniel Prude’s death to other police-involved killings of unarmed Black men.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on Thursday suspended seven police officers involved in the encounter.
“Mr. Daniel Prude was failed by our police department, our mental healthcare system, our society and he was failed by me,” she said. “Daniel Prude’s death has proven yet again that many of the challenges that we faced in the past are the same challenges that we face today.”
Daniel Prude’s arrest came March 23 after his brother, Joe Prude, called police to alert them about the mental health crisis.
Officers discovered Daniel Prude walking down the street without any clothes on. They alleged he broke windows at a business on the same street.
Witnesses described his actions as erratic before officers’ arrival.
Video footage shows Daniel Prude complied with officers when they told him to lie on the ground and put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed.
After that, though, he appears to become agitated and attempts to stand up, particularly after they put what’s known as a “spit sock” on his head. Police said they used the covering because he repeatedly spat at them and told them he had coronavirus.
Officers then restrained him by leaning on his head, back and feet as he was face-down on street.
One officer can be seen in the video leaning on Daniel Prude’s head for more than 2 minutes, during which time the latter stopped moving and speaking.
He was hospitalized after he stopped breathing and died one week later of complications from “asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” according to an autopsy report.
The Monroe County Medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and said Daniel Prude’s “excited delirium” and ingestion of low levels of PCP played a factor.
The video footage of Daniel Prude’s arrest and subsequent death were reminiscent of that of George Floyd, who died May 25 in Minneapolis after a former police officer kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes. His death sparked protests across the globe against police brutality and racial bias.
Protesters march for social justice
The Surrogate’s Court building exterior remains vandalized while Occupy City Hall protests continue outside City Hall in New York City on June 30. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI |