The police officers who placed a mesh hood on a Black man last year and pressed his head down until he lost consciousness will not be charged in his death, officials said Tuesday, after a grand jury convened to investigate the case declined to bring an indictment.
The killing of the man, Daniel Prude, in Rochester, N.Y., touched off intense protests in that city and others during a national reckoning around racism and brutality in policing. Mr. Prude’s death was one of many instances in which Black men died in police custody in recent years.
Public records showed that the Rochester Police Department sought to conceal the circumstances — captured in graphic police body camera footage — of Mr. Prude’s death. The case led to the dismissal of the city’s police chief.
Mr. Prude, 41, was visiting his brother in Rochester in March when he had an apparent psychotic episode. He ran into the street naked and was handcuffed by officers. Mr. Prude, who had told at least one passer-by that he had the coronavirus, began spitting, and the officers responded by pulling a mesh hood over his head.
When he tried to get up, the officers forced Mr. Prude facedown on the ground, one of them pushing his head to the pavement, police body camera footage showed. The police held Mr. Prude down for two minutes, and he had to be resuscitated. He died in the hospital a week later, on March 30. His death was later ruled a homicide.
But the circumstances of Mr. Prude’s death did not become public until September, and only after lawyers for his family pushed for the release of body camera footage. New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, convened a grand jury to investigate Mr. Prude’s death.
Ms. James’s office announced on Tuesday that there would be no charges for the seven officers involved: Officers Josiah Harris, Francisco Santiago, Paul Ricotta, Andrew Specksgoor, Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay and Sgt. Michael Magri.
The killing set off protests across Rochester, a small city just south of Lake Ontario. At points, police officers in riot gear fired chemical irritants at the demonstrators, most of whom remained peaceful.
Concrete barriers formed a reinforced perimeter around Rochester’s Public Safety Building on Tuesday as word spread that an announcement about the case was imminent.
Dan Higgins contributed reporting from Rochester.
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