Attorneys for the cops suspended over the death of Daniel Prude say the officers acted ‘flawlessly’ during their arrest of the unarmed black man.
Prude suffocated after he was arrested by cops during a psychotic episode in Rochester, New York on March 23.
Bodycam video – which showed a naked Prude being put into a spit hood and pinned to the ground – sparked outrage when it was released to the public last month and resulted in the suspension of seven officers who were at the scene.
But on Thursday, during a press conference held at the Rochester Police Union, lawyers said the officers were simply following protocol.
‘There’s no question it’s a tragic situation for Mr. Prude’s family, and there may need to be conversations about training and mental health intervention, but these officers did exactly what they were trained to do and they did it flawlessly,’ a lawyer for officer Mark Vaughn stated.
Vaughn has been suspended with pay alongside six other policemen – Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sergeant Michael Magri.
Attorneys for the cops suspended over the death of Daniel Prude say the officers acted ‘flawlessly’ during their arrest of the unarmed black man
‘These officers are being mistreated unfairly. Their lives have been threatened, there are bounties placed on their heads,’ a lawyer representing Santiago stated.
Daniel Prude, 41, stopped breathing as Rochester police were restraining him in March
According to Rochester First, the attorneys also presented a spit hood – similar to the one that was placed over Prude’s head.
The restraint is usually placed over a person’s head in order to stop them spitting and biting.
The lawyers argued that a spit hood is easier to breathe in than an N-95F mask, and that they needed to pin Prude down in order to protect themselves.
‘They have to protect themselves and protect him, by circling and not letting him move,’ Santiago’s lawyer stated.
‘At that point it was part of their training.’
Prude passed out during his arrest and died a week later on March 30, when he was taken off life support.
An autopsy from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a homicide caused in part by ‘complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint’.
However no charges were brought against the officers and the video and incident was kept under wraps until Prude’s family released it last month and accused police of a cover-up.
Bodycam video showing a naked Prude being put into a spit hood and pinned to the ground sparked outrage when it was released to the public last month
A Rochester police officer holds Daniel Prude’s head down during the deadly encounter
Emails, police reports and other documents were then released by the city revealing Rochester police commanders had urged city officials to hold off on publicly releasing the footage.
Deputy Chief Mark Simmons cited the ‘current climate’ in the city and the nation in a June 4 email advising Singletary to press the city’s lawyers to deny a Prude family lawyer’s public records request for the footage.
An investigation has now been launched by the New York State Attorney General’s Office into Prude’s death.
Prude is one in a line of black men and women killed by cops in America in recent months, as protests demanding an end to police brutality and racism build nationwide.
Demonstrations erupted in May following the ‘murder’ of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he passed out and died.
A makeshift memorial is seen, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Rochester, New York
Protesters on September 6 in Rochester following the public release of footage of Prude’s killing
Prude’s family held a vigil in his honor on September 10 in Rochester (pictured)
Floyd’s death reignited outrage over the death of Breonna Taylor, 26, who was shot six times when three plain clothes officers burst into her Louisville apartment on March 13 during a botched raid.
A grand jury this week returned a decision on possible charges against the three cops, choosing to indict just one of the officers – Brett Hankison – on the lesser charges of wanton endangerment.
The charges relate to him firing into a neighbor’s apartment and no charges were brought in relation to Taylor’s death.
In June, unarmed father Rayshard Brooks was shot dead while he ran away from cops in the drive-thru of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta.
Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white cop in front of his three young children on August 23, leaving the father-of-six paralyzed from the waist down.
One week later, 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee was shot and killed by two cops while he was out riding his bike in South Los Angeles.
Cops say Kizzee had dropped a pistol, bent down and picked it up when the officers shot him dead, while the attorney for his devastated family said cops shot him multiple times before leaving his dead handcuffed body in the street for hours.
Prude is one in a line of black men and women killed by cops in America in recent months, as protests demanding an end to police brutality and racism build nationwide. Left George Floyd who was killed in May and right Breonna Taylor who was killed in March