Officials reach $12M settlement in Daniel Prude’s 2020 death

A judge on Thursday approved a settlement agreement between officials in Rochester, New York, and the family of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after being restrained by police officers in 2020, court records show.

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As part of the settlement, Rochester officials agreed to pay Prude’s family $12 million without admitting liability in the 41-year-old’s death. Prude died after being held down by officers who found him running through the frosty city naked in the early morning hours of March 23, 2020.

In a statement obtained by The New York Times, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said officials agreed to the settlement in order to avoid legal fees and the toll the case might have taken on the city. He was not in office at the time of Prude’s death, The Associated Press reported.

“It is now time to look forward so we may work together and focus our efforts on Rochester’s future,” Evans said.

Attorneys representing Prude’s family said in a statement obtained by WROC-TV that they were glad the settlement funds would support Prude’s five children.

“But this monetary settlement does not include the systemic reforms that are necessary to end the decades-long pattern of police violence against Black men in Rochester, which is what caused Daniel Prude’s death,” they said. “There is still much work to be done.”

Prude, who lived in Chicago, was visiting his brother in March 2020 when he ran out of his sibling’s house in an apparently erratic state of mind. His brother called 911 and police responded, handcuffing and restraining Prude as they waited for an ambulance to arrive. They put a mesh hood over his head after he began to spit and later realized that he had stopped breathing, according to officials.

He died a week later after being taken off life support.

The Monroe County Medical Examiner ruled Prude’s death to be a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of a physical restraint,” with contributing factors of excited delirium and acute PCP intoxication.

In February 2021, a grand jury declined to indict any of the officers involved in the incident that led to Prude’s death.

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