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Cuomo demands answers in Daniel Prude's death 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called for the state attorney general's investigation into the death of Daniel Prude to conclude as quickly as possible and for the Rochester Police Department to cooperate fully with the probe.
click to enlarge Daniel Prude - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Daniel Prude


The governor said that he, like most people, only saw the police body camera footage of Prude's arrest on Wednesday, following its widespread release by the lawyer representing Prude's estate.

"Last night, I watched the video of Daniel Prude's death in Rochester," the governor said in a prepared statement released to the media on Thursday. "What I saw was deeply disturbing and I demand answers."

Cuomo reiterated that the matter was under investigation by Attorney General Leticia James and said that he has "full faith that she will complete a thorough review of the fact, get to the bottom of what happened, and ensure that justice is served."

Prude was arrested on Jefferson Avenue in the early morning hours of March 23. When officers confronted him, Prude was naked and distressed and had allegedly broken a string of storefront windows, according to police reports.

Officers quickly handcuffed him and put a hood, commonly referred to as a "spit sock," over his head. Body camera footage shows that the officers stood nearby as Prude lay and sit in the street, often rambling incoherently and shouting obscenities.

The officers moved to restrain him further when Prude, still sitting and handcuffed and hooded, demanded they give him a gun. Three officers maneuvered Prude onto his stomach, held down his head and feet, and applied pressure to his back.
click to enlarge A screenshot of police body camera footage of the arrest of Daniel Prude. Prude had been released from Strong Memorial Hospital only hours early after a mental health evaluation.
  • A screenshot of police body camera footage of the arrest of Daniel Prude. Prude had been released from Strong Memorial Hospital only hours early after a mental health evaluation.

Shortly thereafter, Prude slipped into unconsciousness and eventually stopped breathing. He was resuscitated by paramedics en route to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition and later died on March 30.

"For the sake of Mr. Prude's family and the greater Rochester community I am calling for this case to be concluded as expeditiously as possible," Cuomo said. "For that to occur we need the full and timely cooperation of the Rochester Police Department and I trust it will fully comply."

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.
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