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Daniel Prude: No charges for US officers over 'spit-hood' death

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New York police officers filmed restraining an unarmed black man until he stopped breathing will not be charged over his death, officials say.

Daniel Prude, who had mental health issues, died in Rochester city after officers put him in “spit hood” designed to protect police.

The death in March last year led to days of protests against police.

On Tuesday, New York’s attorney general said a grand jury had declined to indict any officers in the case.

“I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community and communities across the country will rightfully be disappointed by this outcome,” Letitia James said at a news conference.

“My office presented an extensive case, and we sought a different outcome than the one the grand jury handed us today.”

A grand jury is set up by a prosecutor to determine whether there is enough evidence to pursue a prosecution. In legal terms, it determines whether probable cause exists to believe a crime has been committed.

Ms James expressed disappointment with the grand jury’s verdict, alluding to other cases in which officers had not been held accountable for “the unjustified killing of unarmed African Americans”.

Mr Prude’s death was one of the key events in months of unrest over racial injustice in the US last year.

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His arrest bore similarities to that of George Floyd, who died in police custody a few months later in Minnesota.

Mr Prude, 41, had been suffering from acute mental health problems when his brother called police.

When they arrived, officers found Mr Prude running naked in the street near his brother’s home in Rochester.

While hooded and being held down, he stopped breathing and died a week later after being taken off life support.

A view of a makeshift memorial on Jefferson Avenue following the death of a Black man, Daniel Prude

image copyrightReuters

But details of his death did not come to national attention until September 2020, when body camera footage of the arrest was released by the family after a public records request.

The case led to the suspension of seven officers and the dismissal of the city’s police chief.

Mr Prude’s family have filed a lawsuit, accusing the police department of trying to cover up the facts around his death.

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