An American grand jury has decided not to indict any of the police officers present during the arrest of Daniel Prude in Rochester, which had caused the death by suffocation of this black man plagued by a psychotic episode, in March 2020, announced, Tuesday, February 22, the Attorney General of the State of New York, Letitia James.

“I am extremely disappointed”, commented the first magistrate of the State of New York, while recalling that the jurors were sovereign in the matter.

In American criminal law, the Crown sometimes convenes a grand jury, which, after reviewing the case, must decide whether to prosecute and go to trial. “We were waiting for a decision other than the one handed down today by the grand jury”, Letitia James said. But, “At the end of the day, we have to respect this decision”.

Died a week later

A video of the arrest, which dates back to March 23 in this city in upstate New York, was made public in early September.

Naked in the street when the police arrived, Daniel Prude was unarmed and was quickly handcuffed, before one of the officers present put a hood over his head to prevent him from spitting on the police because he said he had contracted Covid-19.

The video then showed an officer pressing with both hands on a hood placed on the head of Daniel Prude, who eventually passed out. The 41-year-old man, who was unarmed and was in the throes of a psychotic episode at the time of his arrest, died a week later in hospital, without ever coming out of a coma.

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“The penal system is in great need of reform”

The case had sparked a series of protests as well as the resignation of Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary.

The forensic institute concluded, after an autopsy, that the death of Daniel Prude was a homicide, linked to a “Asphyxiation following a physical constraint”.

The death of Daniel Prude echoes those of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, also black, during violent arrests, which have sparked hundreds of demonstrations in the United States since May. “The penal system is in dire need of serious reform”, launched the prosecutor, because he “Was designed to protect the police, to keep them from being held accountable.”

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The World with AFP

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