ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York Attorney General Letitia James released the transcripts of her office’s investigation into Daniel Prude Friday.
“This nation has a long and painful history of injustice, and every day, we are working to create a fairer and more equal system,” James said in a statement. “Our efforts to balance the scales of justice and ensure accountability can only go so far in the absence of transparency. We took the unprecedented action of seeking to release the grand jury transcripts because the public deserves to know what happened in these proceedings. As I have throughout my career, I will continue to use every tool at my disposal to shine a light in the corners of our system that have been hidden for too long.”
According to the attorney general’s office, After impanelment, the grand jury convened on nine separate occasions between October 2020 and February 2021 for more than 45 hours in total.
According to documents, the medical examiner testified the cause of death was a combination of the complications from asphyxia that was due to excited delirium which was due to PCP intoxication.
He testified there is documentation of chemical changes within Prude’s body that were associated with his respiratory failure. The ME also said there were no notable injuries in the cardiovascular or repository systems.
He said the manner of Prude’s death is homicide because his death occurred at the hands of another.
There’s also testimony from the officers who were on scene.
One officer who didn’t go hands on with Prude said prude kept trying to get up and was kicking his feet. He said that’s why one officer initially made contact even though Prude was handcuffed behind his back.
He testified three officers engaged in the segmenting technique which he said is taught in training. He said Prude’s condition later changed; his breathing became labored and his position changed a bit and he vomited.
Another officer who was on scene and did go hands on with Prude testified that he admits to laughing at some of the “off the wall” things Prude was saying after he had been handcuffed.
Elliot Shields – the lawyer for Daniel Prude’s brother – says it looks like the attorney general’s office was trying to steer jurors away from charging the officers.
“They presented the defendants police officer’s case for them, and what did that do? That ensured that they avoided accountability,” he said. “The fact of the matter is if they hadn’t laid a hand on him, Prude would still be alive today.”
The lawyer retained to assist in the case on behalf of the officers involved responded Friday evening, saying, “The result of the grand jury process fits the facts of the case. I’m sorry that it does not fit Mr. Shields’ agenda.”
Response from Joe Prude’s attorney
An EMT that responded to the scene also testified and said,”Working in Rochester, I’ve seen many individuals being restrained, but I’ve never quite seen somebody be restrained in this manner.”
He said he was questioning to himself whether police officers were able to do what he saw the officers doing to restrain Prude. He said, “I was very alarmed and I was initially very shocked because anyone in emergency medicine knows that one of the scariest positions to be in is to have a patient who goes into a cardiac arrest with handcuffs behind their back.”
Officials say the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings have minimal redactions to “protect the identities of the jurors and witnesses who testified.”
By a vote of 15-5, the grand jury ultimately voted to not indict any of the officers involved.
- Page 3 — Grand jury duties
- Page 34 —1st witness: Joe Prude
- Page 89 — 2nd witness: 911 operator
- Page 101 — 3rd witness: Rochester police officer
- Page 123 — 4th witness: Rochester police officer
- Page 4 — Caution to jurors
- Page 6 — 1st witness: Cheektowaga police officer
- Page 23 — 2nd witness: AMR emergency medical technician
- Page 47 — 3rd witness: Rochester police officer
- Page 62 — 4th witness: Supervising investigator, New York Attorney General’s Office
- Page 4 — Recap of session two
- Page 6 — 1st witness: 911 dispatcher/operator
- Page 14 — 2nd witness: Police dispatcher
- Page 47 — 3rd witness: Witness who called 911 on March 23, 2020 (date of encounter)
- Page 63 — 4th witness: Rochester police officer
- Page 89 — 5th witness: Witness who broadcasted encounter on Facebook Live
- Page 113 — 6th witness: Rochester police officer
- Page 161 — 7th witness: Rochester police evidence technician
- Page 180 — 8th witness: Rochester police evidence technician
- Page 6 — 1st witness: Physician, Strong Memorial Hospital comprehensive emergency, psychiatry program
- Page 44 — 2nd witness: Monroe County Medical Examiner
- Page 89 — 3rd witness: Rochester police sergeant
- Page 113 — 4th witness: Rochester police digital media specialist
- Page 128 — 5th witness: Rochester police officer
- Page 176 — 4th witness returns after technical difficulties
- Page 180 — 6th witness: Rochester police sergeant
- Page 6 — 1st witness: Rochester police lieutenant
- Page 27 — 2nd witness: AMR paramedic
- Page 54 — 3rd witness: Emergency physician, police restraint expert
- Page 126 — 4th witness: AMR emergency medical technician
- Page 157 — 5th witness: Rochester police sergeant
- Page 3 — 1st witness: Rochester police sergeant
- Page 38 — 2nd witness: Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina
- Page 89 — 3rd witness: Rochester police sergeant
- Page 3 — 1st witness: Patrolman, defensive tactics instructor, Jamestown Police Department
- Page 64 — 2nd witness, Rochester police officer
- Page 172 — 3rd witness: Rochester police officer
- Evidence review
- Page 4 — 1st witness: (returning) Supervising investigator, New York Attorney General’s Office
- Page 13— Jury reviews evidence
- Page 27 — Explanation of charges and duty of grand jury
- Page 55 — Grand jury questions charges
- Page 58 — Grand jury reaches decision
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.
Prude, a 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, died after an encounter with Rochester police in March, but news of the incident just came to light on Sept. 2, 2020. Police worn body camera footage of the incident showed officers restraining a handcuffed Prude, who was naked with a spit hood over his head, before he ultimately went unconscious.
The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude a homicide. The report said Prude’s cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed that Prude also had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of the encounter with police, which could explain his erratic behavior.
The Rochester police officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude will not face charges after a grand jury elected not to indict.
Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, who was fired by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren shortly after details of Prude’s death became public, testified in a nine-hour deposition in February which was part of an independent investigation initiated by Rochester City Council continues to see if there was indeed a cover-up.
That investigation looked into City Hall, the Rochester Police Department and City Council itself and concluded that key city officials knowingly suppressed information regarding Prude’s death from the public.
In an 84-page report into the City of Rochester’s handling of the Daniel Prude case, the special investigator hired by Rochester City Council said key city officials knowingly suppressed information.
The report said the ultimate decision to not disclose the death of Prude to the public was that of Mayor Warren. However he went on to say the responsibility for the delay wasn’t just hers.
Aside from Singletary, several other high-ranking members within the RPD’s command staff have also announced retirements, in a major leadership shake-up for the city’s police department.
Protests sparked following the news of Prude’s death in the city of Rochester throughout the month of September. Some demonstrations saw violent clashes between protesters and police.