• February 4, 2023

Daniel Prude’s Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Rochester Police Officers : NPR

A memorial pictured in September 2020 commemorates the location where Daniel Prude was arrested in Rochester, New York. Prude died of suffocation after being arrested by police in March. Almost a year later, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images Hide caption

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Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

A memorial pictured in September 2020 commemorates the location where Daniel Prude was arrested in Rochester, New York. Prude died of suffocation after being arrested by police in March, and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit almost a year later.

Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

Daniel Prude’s children are suing the city of Rochester, New York, and at least six police officers in federal court for guilty of civil rights violations, gross negligence, and death. The 41-year-old black man died of suffocation in March last year held back by the police while he was in the midst of a mental crisis.

Attorneys representing Nathaniel McFarland, one of Prude’s five children and administrator of his estate, filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the western borough of New York on Monday.

In a 27-page complaint, the family says Prude’s death and alleged attempts by the ministry and city officials to later cover up him violated his constitutional rights guarding against unreasonable search and seizure. The officials also did not respond appropriately to his health, the complaint said.

The von Prude family also accuses the city of several systemic errors, including maintaining a “totally broken” system of reviewing allegations of excessive violence by police officers and failing to provide training or guidelines to protect the rights of people suffering from mental health crises, “despite the obvious need”.

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“For years before Daniel’s death, Rochester has had a policy of deliberate indifference to the rights of people of color who encounter their police officers, especially those suffering from mental health problems,” the complaint read. “As a result of the city’s political failures, the people of Rochester were ill-treated for years and vulnerable people like Daniel Prude were killed.”

Neither the Rochester city spokesman nor the attorneys listed as city officials on the court record immediately responded to NPR’s request for comment.

According to the complaint, Prude’s children are seeking unspecified damages, “including the financial value of their loss of support, care and guidance from their father’s death.”

This is the second federal lawsuit against city and police officers filed as Democrat & Chronicle by Prude’s family Reports. A similar lawsuit was filed by Prude’s sister, but the courts have since determined that his children – who were not recognized in this lawsuit – have jurisdiction to sue on behalf of his estate.

“My dad had a tough life, but he was a great dad. He always showed me and my siblings how much he loved us,” McFarland said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. “Our hearts are broken by his death, but this lament has given us hope for the future.”

Filing comes almost a year after Prude’s death and two weeks after New York Attorney General Letitia James said a grand jury did not agree to charge one of the officers involved.

Six Rochester police officers are named in the lawsuit: Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Francisco Santiago, Michael Magri, Andrew Specksgoor and Josiah Harris. The defendants also include “other unidentified Rochester police officers”.

Rochester Hospital released Daniel Prude hours before the fatal encounter with the police

The file contains a schedule for the evening of March 22nd and the early morning of March 23rd. Prude’s family made two calls to 911 during an apparent mental health crisis – what they describe as a “fatal mistake” because of concerns for his safety.

The events of the arrest in the early hours of March 23rd were captured in graphic footage by police bodies, widely publicized after its release in September.

After handcuffing Prude and ordering him to lie naked on a snow-covered street, the officers placed a “spit hood” over his head and held him in place. Prude eventually passed out and stopped breathing, and died in the hospital a week later after being taken off life support.

What went wrong: Police analyzing handcuffs, spraying 9-year-old girl with pepper

The lawsuit details how officials allegedly physically and verbally abused Prude instead of offering him much-needed help, such as “casually chatting and joking” [his] Expenses “while lying on the ground, as well as laughing and repeating words to him” in a mocking manner “as he” grazed incoherently. “It adds that the officers who observed the abuse did not attempt to intervene.

The complaint also describes how officials, after holding Prude until he could no longer gasp, were slow to alert the on-site paramedic and wait a few minutes to loosen his hands, rendering the initial CPR efforts ineffective made.

It describes the city’s “broken” system of investigating and disciplining incidents of excessive violence, which states that suspected officers are being investigated by other police officers and the police chief “sees almost any use of force as … justified, no matter how clearly.” monstrous the behavior. ”

“As a result of the city’s failure to properly investigate or discipline officials who use excessive force, RPD officials can use violence against citizens with impunity and comfort themselves that their acts of violence are never properly examined, even if those acts are carried out.” are being videotaped, “the complaint alleges.

The former Rochester, NY police chief testifies on the Daniel Prude case

Another section of the file alleges that city policymakers have not provided adequate training to prepare officials to “reduce rather than exacerbate” the risk of harm to Prude during his encounter with them.

The lawsuit describes such incidents continuing after the massive protests following the release of Prude’s arrest material last fall. Rochester police officers in late January handcuffed and sprayed with pepper a 9 year old girl responding to a call about a family disorder.

More recently than Member station WXXI An official was reportedly taken on administrative leave after the department released body camera footage on Friday of an incident in February in which a black woman was sprayed with pepper spray with her young child while she was there.

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