Daniel Prude's brother 'outraged' that police officers won't be charged in his death
Grand jury votes not to charge officers who held Prude down until he stopped breathing
Joe Prude would like to see the Rochester, N.Y., police officers who held his brother Daniel Prude down until he stopped breathing charged with murder, and he's not done fighting for justice.
On Tuesday, a grand jury ruled that the officers involved in the 41-year-old Black man's death will face no criminal charges.
Last September, the family released police body cam footage from March 23, 2020, that showed Daniel Prude handcuffed and naked with a spit hood over his head as an officer pushed his face against the ground, while another officer pressed a knee to his back. The officers held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. He was taken off life support a week later.
The county medical examiner ruled the cause of death as homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint" and cited PCP as a contributing factor.
The examiner also said Prude was in a state of "excited delirium" from the drug — a medically contentious diagnosis for someone in a state of extreme agitation or aggression due to mental illness or stimulant use.
Joe Prude made the 911 call that led to the deadly police encounter, hoping to get mental health support for his brother. He spoke with As It Happens guest host Peter Armstrong about the grand jury ruling. Here is part of their conversation.
How did you react when you learned this grand jury had decided not to indict these officers?
A little shocked, disbelief, outraged, upset.
As much as you are comfortable, would you tell us what happened last March, what was going on with your brother that led you to call 911?
Around that time, he starts showing like ... a behaviour pattern that I was never familiar with and, you know, that's something that prompted me to call; I thought I'd get the help by getting him some psychiatric treatment or something.
And I just wonder when you call for help, what do you think that help looks like? I mean, what were you hoping would arrive at your door and and greet him?
The same people that arrived at the door and greeted him the first time.... They came and put him in an ambulance and took it from there.
Why don't you think he got the help that you were hoping he would get this time?
I don't know why he didn't get the help he got the last time. I don't know what that was about.
A lawyer for these police officers has said that the video footage, in his words, "isn't pretty," but that he says the officers followed protocol and he says they couldn't have done anything different. What do you say to that?
They could have done a whole lot different. They could have waited until the ambulance pulled up and let them [deal] with my brother. That wasn't their damn job to deal with my brother.
They didn't have no business putting their damn hands on my brother.
Yeah, the video is ugly. It's horrific. And anybody in their right mind could tell you them the ones that … ended his life.
The pain and the anguish and the hurt that I'm feeling right now, can't nobody explain that. I can't even explain it because it's too damn difficult.- Joe Prude, Daniel Prude's brother
The lawyers also claim that your brother's PCP use was what they call the root cause of his death.
That wasn't the cause, because if you look at the ... medical examiner's report, it was asphyxiation by cause of restraint.
They didn't find that much PCP in his body.
So it was like, how much can you cover up? How much can you lie?
Now, if I'm mistaken, which I know I'm not, you've got three individuals holding you down. One is in a push-up stance on your head with all his weight on your head. One is in your back, while the other one is just holding your legs. You tell me that ain't enough pressure to stop somebody from breathing? That having these excited delirium issues that they are making a damn excuse for?
So that wasn't the cause, as they say, excited delirium.
That ain't even no damn medical term.
What would you like people to know about your brother and what he was like?
My brother was a good man. My brother didn't hate nobody. My brother loved everybody. I mean, my brother would have gave a person a shirt off his back if he needed it.
They took something away from me, man, that is unexplainable.
The pain and the anguish and the hurt that I'm feeling right now, can't nobody explain that. I can't even explain it because it's too damn difficult.
What charges do you think these officers should be facing?
They should have been faced with murder. Not ... [criminally] negligent homicide. Murder. That was the intent to kill somebody for no damn reason.
Written by Sarah Jackson with files from Associated Press. Interview produced by Katie Geleff.