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Video shows police press Black man’s face into pavement; he later died of asphixiation



A Black man died of asphyxiation after a group of Rochester, New York police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, the Associated Press reports.

The incident took place March 23, and Daniel Prude died a week later when he was taken off life support. His death received no public attention until Wednesday, when his family and their attorneys released police bodycam footage, which they obtained through open records requests.

Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, said he had called police to get help for his brother, who was having a mental health crisis.

“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched,” Joe Prude, said at a news conference Wednesday. “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 a naked Prude complying with police commands to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Officers then put a “spit hood” over his head and, when he begged them to remove it, pushed his head into the pavement and held it there for over two minutes.

The video shows Prude struggling and eventually going limp.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the incident.

“The police have shown us over and over again that they are not equipped to handle individuals with mental health concerns. These officers are trained to kill, and not to deescalate. These officers are trained to ridicule, instead of supporting Mr. Daniel Prude,” Ashley Gantt of Free the People ROC said at the news conference with Prude’s family.