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September 2, 2020

ROCHESTER - Today the Rochester Police Department released body camera footage of a March incident where police killed a Black man, Daniel Prude, during the course of an arrest. Mr. Prude died of asphyxiation after officers pinned him to the ground while restraining him. In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Genesee Valley Region Chapter Director Iman Abid:

"Daniel Prude's murder at the hands of the Rochester Police Department is horrifying and unacceptable. We send our condolences to his family and loved ones, and to the Rochester community grieving his loss. Mr. Prude should still be alive, and it is clear from the footage that officers met an obvious behavioral health crisis with lethal force.

"It has been over four months since the attorney general's office opened their investigation, but it does not take that long to see that the officers involved abused their authority to end Mr. Prude's life. The officers involved in this incident should not be allowed on patrol while the investigation proceeds, and the public has a right to know the misconduct history of the officers involved.

"The Rochester district attorney must also open an investigation into the arrest and testimony record for each of these officers. Members of the Rochester community have a right to know what other reckless, violent behavior these officers have carried out, both on camera and off, and how that has affected the lives of others.

"Mr. Prude was murdered callously at a time when he needed professional care. Where he deserved dignity he was mocked and treated cruelly. Police as we know them are simply not equipped to be responsible for the public safety needs of Black people, nor to address the personal crises they are so often assigned to handle. We need to reduce the size of the police force and reassign responsibilities for social interventions from the police force now."