Daniel Prude’s Death: What to Know

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It’s Friday. We’re off on Monday for Labor Day, but we’ll be back on Tuesday.

Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high in the mid-80s. The sun sticks around for the long weekend, and it’ll cool off a bit to around 80.

Alternate-side parking: In effect today and tomorrow. Suspended Monday for Labor Day. Read about the amended regulations here.


In late March, the call came in over the police radio in Rochester: A naked man was running outside, under the influence of PCP and shouting that he had the coronavirus.

Police officers arrived and handcuffed the man, Daniel Prude, 41. After he began spitting, officers covered his head with a mesh hood. When he tried to rise, officers held him face down on the ground, one of them pushing his head to the pavement.

The police held Mr. Prude down for two minutes, and he had to be resuscitated. Seven days later, he died.

The raw police videos of the encounter, released on Wednesday by Mr. Prude’s family, have roiled yet another American city with outrage over the death of a Black person in police custody. As protesters took to the streets on Thursday, Rochester’s mayor, Lovely Warren, suspended seven officers involved in detaining Mr. Prude.

[Read more about the moments leading to Mr. Prude’s death.]

The disciplinary action was the first taken in the more than five months since Mr. Prude died.

Mr. Prude lived in Chicago with his sister, and had five adult children.

“The person that everybody sees in the video is totally different from the person that I knew,” said one of his three daughters, Tashyra.

Credit…Roth and Roth LLP, via Associated Press

She called her father a “caring man with a good spirit.”

Mr. Prude had arrived in Rochester on March 22. His brother, Joe Prude, had picked him up in Buffalo after he had been kicked off a train from Chicago, Joe Prude told the police.

But soon after, Daniel Prude began behaving erratically. Joe Prude had his brother admitted to a hospital for an evaluation, but he was released within hours and returned to Joe Prude’s home.

Later, Daniel Prude bolted out a back door, barely dressed. Joe Prude called the police for help, saying his brother seemed to be under the influence of PCP.

Officers arrive at 3:16 a.m. near downtown Rochester to find Mr. Prude in the roadway.

An officer orders Mr. Prude to get on the ground. He immediately lies face down and does not resist as officers cuff his hands behind his back.

While sitting in the street, Mr. Prude grows agitated, at one point saying: “Give me your gun. I need it.” He spits on the ground multiple times, but does not seem to be aiming at the officers.

An officer covers Mr. Prude’s head with a mesh hood. He begins rolling in the road, pleading for it to be taken off.

[What are ‘spit hoods,’ and why do the police use them?]

A minute later, after spitting inside the hood and shouting, “Give me the gun,” Mr. Prude seems to try to rise to his feet. Three officers push him to the ground.

One officer holds Mr. Prude’s head face down, and the hood remains on. After two minutes, Mr. Prude is no longer moving or speaking, and an officer can be heard asking, “You good, man?”

An ambulance arrives, and a paramedic begins performing CPR as Mr. Prude remains handcuffed and officers search for a handcuff key.

Finally, the handcuffs are removed, and Mr. Prude is placed on a stretcher and into the ambulance.

Mr. Prude died on March 30 after he was removed from life support, seven days after being detained.

The Monroe County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” according to an autopsy report. “Excited delirium” and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or the drug PCP, were contributing factors, the report said.

On Wednesday, his family released raw police videos of the encounter, which they had just obtained through an open-records request.

Ms. Warren, the mayor, did not offer details Thursday on why the investigation was taking so long, but suggested that she had been misled by the police chief, La’Ron D. Singletary.

“Experiencing and ultimately dying from the drug overdose in police custody, as I was told by the chief, is entirely different than what I ultimately witnessed, on the video,” the mayor said.

Chief Singletary bristled at the suggestion that his department had been trying to keep Mr. Prude’s death away from public attention. He said that he had ordered criminal and internal investigations hours after the encounter.

Also on Wednesday, the state attorney general, Letitia James, made her first statement on the case, promising “a fair and independent investigation.”

Troy Closson, Sarah Maslin Nir, Jesse McKinley, Ed Shanahan and Michael Wilson contributed reporting.


This virtual exhibition, through the Latinx Project at New York University, opens on Friday at 9 a.m. and explores how Latinx and Afro-Latinx artists use digital spaces and feminine energy for healing. It also touches on themes of queerness and colonization.

Access the free exhibit on the event page.

On Saturday at noon, this MoMA PS1 event will feature live musical performances and an eight-hour D.J. set. It will also be streamed at outdoor music venues across New York City.

Find the free livestream on the event page.

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra will perform Sunday at 8:30 p.m. as part of their Birdland Jazz Club residency.

Watch them for free on Afro Latin Jazz Alliance’s Facebook page.

It’s Friday — make plans.


Dear Diary:

I was getting out of the Army and going to my first job interview. It was at 140 West Street in Lower Manhattan, the headquarters of what was the New York Telephone Company at the time.

After a short interview and a review of my credentials — I didn’t have much: a bachelor of business administration degree and seven years in the military — the personnel manager put me in a cubicle. He handed me a test and said he would be back in an hour to collect it.

Sixty minutes later, he returned, collected my test, graded it and interviewed me again.

It was a short conversation. He said I had done very well on the test and that the telephone company wanted to hire me.

Then he told me the salary. It was not huge, but — one interview; one job offer — I was shocked, and pleased.

After recovering somewhat, I told him that it was my very first interview and that I would like to see what else might be out there for me.

“Take your time” he said. “Look around. Just remember: When you are ready, we have a job for you!”

I did look around, but in the end, the words “we have a job for you” carried the day.

I retired 26 years later.

— Paul Ashley


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