US cops suffocate black man to death
PIC: Associated Press (AP)

Protests have erupted in upstate New York after a newly surfaced video revealed how a 41-year-old handcuffed black man died of asphyxiation in March after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the ground until he stopped breathing, reports the Daily Mail.

Daniel Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester.

His death received no public attention until Wednesday, when his family held a news conference and released police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.

"I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched," Prude's brother, Joe Prude, said at a news conference.

"How did you see him and not directly say, 'The man is defenseless, buck naked on the ground. He's cuffed up already. Come on.' How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?" The videos show Prude, who had taken off his clothes, complying when police ask him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back.

Prude is agitated and shouting as he sits on the pavement in handcuffs for a few moments as a light snow falls. "Give me your gun, I need it," he shouts.

Then, they put a white "spit hood" over his head, a device intended to protect officers from a detainee's saliva. At the time, New York was in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prude demands they remove it.

Then the officers slam Prude's head into the street. One officer, who is white, holds his head down against the pavement with both hands, saying "calm down" and "stop spitting." Another officer places a knee on his back.

"Trying to kill me!" Prude says, his voice becoming muffled and anguished under the hood.

"OK, stop. I need it. I need it," the prone man begs before his shouts turn to whimpers and grunts.

The officers appear to become concerned after he stops moving, falls silent and they notice water coming out of Prude's mouth.

"My man. You puking?" one says.

One officer notes that he's been out, naked, in the street for some time. Another remarks, "He feels pretty cold." His head had been held down by an officer for just over two minutes, the video shows.

The officers then remove the hood and his handcuffs and medics can then be seen performing CPR before he's loaded into an ambulance. Spit hoods have been scrutinized as a factor in the deaths of several prisoners in the U.S. and other countries in recent years.

A medical examiner concluded that Prude's death was a homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint." The report lists excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP, as contributing factors.

Prude was from Chicago and had just arrived in Rochester for a visit with his brother. He was kicked off the train before it got to Rochester, in Depew, "due to his unruly behavior," according to an internal affairs investigator's report.

Rochester police officers took Prude into custody for a mental health evaluation around 7 pm on March 22 for suicidal thoughts -- about eight hours before the encounter that led to his death.

But his brother said he was only at the hospital for a few hours, according to the reports.

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