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Video of police suffocating Daniel Prude is horrifying, but Americans need to watch it

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

The father of five had traveled to Rochester in March to visit one of his brothers. A family member said Prude had been struggling with the recent deaths of his mother and another brother.

On the evening of March 22, he was taken to a Rochester hospital for a mental health evaluation for suicidal thoughts. He was released to his brother, then around 3 a.m. the next day, the brother called 911 because Prude had fled the house.

“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched,” Joe Prude said during a news conference in New York.

When police found Prude he was in the street naked and agitated, shouting nonsensically as a light snow fell. The police asked him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back, and he quickly complied.

Police say Prude was spitting, so they put a spit hood on him, at which point Prude became more agitated. Officers then slammed the naked and handcuffed man to the ground, with one white officer holding Prude’s head down on the street with both hands.

Per an Associated Press report:

 

“Another officer places a knee on his back.”

“ ‘Trying to kill me!’ Prude says, his voice becoming muffled and anguished under the hood.”

“ ‘OK, stop. I need it. I need it,’ the prone man begs before his shouts turn to whimpers and grunts.”

Joe Prude said: “How did you see him and not directly say, ‘The man is defenseless, 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?”

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