Daniel Prude, a Black Man in Rochester, New York, Was Killed With a Spit Hood, and He Wasn’t the First

Daniel Prude, a Black Man in Rochester, New York, Was Killed With a Spit Hood, and He Wasn’t the First

Daniel Prude was naked when Rochester, New York, police ordered him onto the snowy ground in March. The only thing besides handcuffs that officers placed on his body before he went unconscious? A white mesh bag commonly known as a “spit hood.”

Prude, 41, died of homicide asphyxiation on March 30, after a week in a coma. His demise began after he experienced an apparent mental health crisis, prompting his brother, Joe, to place an emergency services call. Rochester Police officers who responded found Prude naked and acting erratically. They ordered him onto the ground, where they promptly handcuffed him without incident. 

Prude, who according to a medical examiner’s report had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system, continued to rant, and was later said to have alluded to possibly having COVID-19. He also spat on the ground. Police placed the spit hood over Prude’s head and knelt on his back until he threw up in the hood, after which he went unconscious.

He never woke up again. “That was a lynching,” Joe Prude told The Appeal of the incident. 

Prude’s death, which drew comparisons with that of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police in May, set off protests in Rochester after the racial justice group Free the People Roc released body camera footage of the incident on Wednesday. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren suspended seven cops tied to the death on Thursday, while New York Attorney General Letitia James has said a state probe begun months ago remains incomplete.

“The Prude family and the greater Rochester community deserve answers, and we will continue to work around the clock to provide them,” James said Thursday.



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