Rochester Officer Faces Discipline in Daniel Prude’s Death

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Departmental charges were the first to be filed against any of the seven officers suspended in Mr Prude’s case, a black man who died after police put a forged on his head and pinned him.

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Police officers in Rochester, NY said Thursday they have filed departmental charges against an officer who participated in the arrest of Daniel Prude, a black man who died in March 2020 after police threw him to the ground and A mesh hood was installed. on his head.

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The officer, Mark Vaughan, faces charges of excessive use of force and unprofessional behavior, the first formal charges of any kind arising from Mr Prud’s death, officials said on Friday. Whatever punishment he will get, if any, will come after the departmental hearing. The officials did not specify the date of the hearing.

Officer Vaughan was one of seven officers who were suspended last year for their role in Mr Prude’s arrest. Although New York Attorney General Letitia James found that there was enough evidence to present a case for criminal charges, a grand jury declined to indict any of the officers.

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Mr Prude’s death, and the subsequent release of police body-camera footage showing him pinned to the ground, sparked protests about racism and police brutality amid nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020. sparked public outrage.

Officer Vaughan and three other officers first confront Mr Prude, 41, in Rochester on March 23, 2020, when he responds 911 call, which includes his brother, Joe. Daniel Prude was misbehaving, and ran from his brother’s house down a snowy alley without a shirt and no shoes on. Worried about his safety, Joe Prude called the police.

Responding officers found Daniel Prude naked and claimed he had the coronavirus. He confronted Mr Prude, stopped him and, employing a common but controversial police practice, put a hood over his head when he began spitting at him.

According to police records, several officers, including Officer Vaughan, slammed Mr Prude to the ground for about two minutes. He lost consciousness and had to be revived. He died a week after being put on life support.

In body-camera footage, which was released to the public several months after the incident, Officer Vaughan can be seen pressing Mr. Prude’s head to the sidewalk with his hands.

“Take your feet off me!” Mr. Prude screams in the video, apparently assuming he is being stepped on.

According to an analysis of video footage by Vaughan, Officer Vaughan was holding Mr. Prud’s head for at least 68 seconds where he stayed.

Testifying before the grand jury, Geoffrey Alpert, an expert witness who was called to testify by Ms James’ office, said that preventing Prude from applying pressure to his head was a form of division among law enforcement officers. Known practice in, did not deviate from the permissible police. Practice.

The Rochester Police Locust Club, the union that represents the city’s police officers, and James Nobles, an attorney who represented Officer Vaughn in the attorney general’s investigation, did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Prude’s family has filed suit against the authorities and the city, alleging wrongful death. Elliot Shields, an attorney representing Joe Prude, said it was “outrageous” that only one officer was facing potential discipline.

“The City of Rochester has not yet held officials accountable when they violate people’s constitutional rights,” Mr Shields said. “It was the duty of every officer on the scene to intervene to prevent the unlawful use of force against Mr. Prude.”

Rochester city council member Mary Lupien said officials “missed many opportunities to hold these officers accountable.”

“This seems like our only chance,” she said.

Ms Lupien said she was concerned about how long it might take to sack even an officer, even though such a move was the only way to find some measure of justice for the community and Mr Prud’s family.

“I think we are looking at a very long process,” she said.

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