Daniel Prude: Black man dies from asphyxiation after US police pin him to the ground

This video contains distressing images

Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Warning this report contains some distressing images from the incident.

A black man died of asphyxiation after a group of US police officers put a hood over his head then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes.

Daniel Prude died in hospital on March 30 - after he was taken off life support following his encounter with police in Rochester, New York.

Officers had been called to help Mr Prude, after his brother raised concerns about his welfare and mental health.

His death received no widespread public attention until Wednesday, when police body cam video and written reports were released by Mr Prude's family after the obtained them by a public records request.

A Rochester police officer puts a hood over the head of Daniel Prude. Credit: AP

The videos show Mr Prude, who had taken off his clothes, complying with officers when they ask him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back.

He is agitated and shouting as officers let him writhe as he sits on the pavement in handcuffs for a few moments.

Joe Prude, Daniel's brother, said: “I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched.

“How did you see him and not directly say, ‘The man is defenceless, buck naked on the ground. He’s cuffed up already. Come on’.

“How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”

Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester. Credit: AP

The officers are seen putting a spit hood over Mr Prude’s head despite objections, with the victim saying: “Trying to kill me”.

The officers slam Mr Prude’s head into the street, then one officer holds his head down against the pavement with both hands, saying “stop spitting” as Mr Prude’s shouts turn to whimpers and grunts.

The officers appear to become concerned when they notice water coming out of Mr Prude’s mouth and paramedics were called.

A medical examiner concluded that Mr Prude’s death was a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint”.

The report lists excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP, as contributing factors.

Rochester police officers held down Daniel Prude Credit: Rochester Police via Roth and Roth LLP via AP

Rochester police officers took Mr Prude into custody for a mental health evaluation around 7pm on March 22 for suicidal thoughts – just eight hours before the encounter that led to his death.

But his brother said he was only at the hospital for a few hours, according to the reports.

Police responded again after Joe Prude called 911 at about 3am to report that his brother had left his house.

One officer wrote that they put the hood on Mr Prude because he was spitting continuously in the direction of officers and they were concerned about coronavirus.

Lakeisha Harmon speaks to the crowd during the protest. Credit: AP

But activists demanded officers involved with Mr Prude’s death be prosecuted on murder charges, and that they be removed from the department while the investigation proceeds.

"The police have shown us over and over again that they are not equipped to handle individuals with mental health concerns. These officers are trained to kill, and not to deescalate. These officers are trained to ridicule, instead of supporting Mr. Daniel Prude," Ashley Gantt of Free the People ROC said.

On Thursday morning, an online fundraiser for Mr Prude's family had raised over $12,000 (£9,037).

The GoFund Me page claims Mr Prude complied with all orders from the police.

Mr Prude, known to his Chicago-based family by the nickname Rell, was a father of five and had been working at a warehouse within the last year, said his aunt Letoria Moore.

“He was just a bright, loving person, just family-oriented, always there for us when we needed him,” she said.