A video has emerged of Chicago policemen suffocating a black man, Daniel Prude, to death while arresting him in March.
Daniel Prude, who was suffering from acute mental health illness, was walking naked and bleeding down Rochester street in New York, before being handcuffed and arrested by cops, who also placed a “spit bag” over his head after he claimed that he was infected with COVID-19.
The Democrat and Chronical reported that the 41-year-old Chicago resident was in the city to visit his brother, Joe, and his family before the incident occurred on 23 March. Prude was thrown off of a train earlier before being driven to Rochester, where he acted out. After being taken to Strong Medical Hospital, he underwent a mental health evaluation and was later released, according to a police investigation, reported on by the New York Post.
Hours later, Daniel ran out of his brother’s home in just underwear, a tank top and socks, prompting Joe to call the police.
Prude then removed all of his clothes as he walked along West Main Street, where he was caught on a Facebook live video, broadcast by a passer-by, begging for someone to call 911.
He was later apprehended by the police on Jefferson Avenue, and was ordered to put his hands behind his back.
“Sure thing, sure thing,” Prude said. Although he was still agitated and started spitting onto the street. However, Prude never made contact with the police officers, who then pulled a hood over his head (also known as a spit bag) to protect themselves from his bodily fluids. He then shouted at an officer, asking for his gun, at which point officers tried to prevent him from standing up by standing on his back.
The officer, identified as Mark Vaughn, pushed Prude’s head into the pavement, creating an optic that will remind many of George Floyd’s death which happened just two months later. Vaughn’s report described the manoeuvre as a “hypoglossal nerve technique”, a painful compliance procedure that involves pushing fingers into a nerve under the jaw. This lasted for two minutes and 15 seconds, after which the officer asked “You good now?”. Prude was unresponsive and the officer continued the technique for a further 45 seconds.
Following Vaughn’s actions, an emergency medical technician on the scene, Brett Barnes, asked the police officers to role Prude onto his back, after which he discovered that he wasn’t breathing and he immediately administered CPR. However, the officers were unable to find the keys for the handcuffs and Prudes hands remained tightly fastened behind his back during the CPR process. Prude was put into an ambulance 11 minutes after the police had arrived. However, while medics were able to restore Prude’s heartbeat, he was declared braindead due to the depravation of oxygen to his brain during the process, according to the police narrative cited by the Democrat and Chronicle. He was taken off of life support on 30 March after his liver and a kidney were donated for use in transplants.
Medical examiners declared Prude’s death a homicide, caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint, excited delirium [and] acute phencyclidine [PCP] intoxication.”
In a news conference on Wednesday, Joe Prude said that the police officers had treated his brother like an animal.
“I placed a phone call to get my brother help, not to have my brother lynched,” he said. “How many more brothers have to die before society understands this needs to stop?”
Mayor Lovely Warren described the newly released footage as “disturbing”.
“I can sympathize and empathize with the family,” she said in a separate press conference, before denying that there has been a lack of transparency, with the video footage only being released months after the events took place.
“I want everyone to understand that at no point in time did we feel that this was something that we wanted not to disclose,” Warren said. “We are precluded from getting involved in it until that agency [the state Attorney General’s office] has completed their investigation.”
“The officers’ actions and conduct displayed when dealing with Prude appear to be appropriate and consistent with their training,” a report from the internal police probe, dated 27 April, claimed. The report was written 11 days after the Attorney General’s investigation began.
Ashley Gantt, an organiser within a local #BlackLivesMatter group, Free The People Roc, has called for justice for the death of Daniel Prude at the hands of police.
“[We want] accountability for the wrongful death and murder of Daniel Prude,” Gantt said. “He was treated inhumanely and without dignity.”
The development’s in Daniel Prude’s police brutality case has shed further light on the uncontrollable police brutality crisis within the United States, which has led to countless protests across the country, calling for justice for an ever-growing list of black men that have died at the hands of the police officers.