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Protesters Take To The Street After Grand Jury Votes Not To Charge Officers Involved In Daniel Prude’s Death

[Twitter/Screenshot/Public User Tyler Brown]

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Protesters took to the streets of Rochester Tuesday night demanding justice after a New York grand jury voted not to indict any police officers in connection with the death of Daniel Prude, a black man who died in police custody due to asphyxiation.

Video posted to Twitter shows dozens of protesters walking down the street chanting “No justice, no peace. F**k these racist ass police!”

Dozens of other protesters can be seen walking down I-490, chanting “you can’t stop the revolution” and “Black Lives Matter,” videos posted to Twitter show.

Other protesters who moved into the Child Street area were followed by a “convoy of personal vehicles to protect those marching from traffic” a video posted to Twitter shows.

State police were later seen blocking off the I-490 Child Street exit, according to News 8 reporter Ben Densieski.

State Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday that a grand jury decided not to indict any officers involved in Prude’s death.

Prude was taken into police custody for a mental health evaluation on March 22 for suicidal thoughts, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Hours after being released, Prude’s brother called police to inform them that Prude had left the house, according to the AP. (RELATED: Joe Prude, Brother Of Daniel Prude, Says Cops Are ‘Some Cold-Blooded … Killers’ Who ‘Assassinated’ Brother)

Prude was found partially naked and police said he smashed several store windows and allegedly claimed he had the coronavirus, according to a report from NPR.

Body-cam footage released from the incident shows officers putting a spit hood over Prude as Prude spits toward officers. Officers can be seen pushing Prude’s head into the ground, telling him to “calm down” and “stop spitting.” Another officer can be seen kneeling on Prude’s back, the video shows.

Prude could be heard muttering “trying to kill me!” and “OK, stop. I need it. I need it,” before his whimpers taper off. Moments later police noticed water was coming out of Prude’s mouth and that he felt “pretty cold.” Officers performed CPR before Prude was taken to the hospital, according to the AP. Prude died March 30 from brain damage.

A medical examiner ruled his death was a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” according to the AP.

After body-cam footage of the incident was released, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren fired Police Chief La’Ron Singletary while seven police officers involved in the arrest were suspended.

An investigation by the Rochester Police Department remains ongoing and the officers will “remain on leave pending the outcome of this internal investigation,” the Rochester Police Department said in a statement.

“Daniel Prude was in the throes of a mental health crisis and what he needed was compassion, care, and help from trained professionals,” James said in a statement. “Tragically, he received none of those things. We concluded that there was sufficient evidence surrounding Mr. Prude’s death to warrant presenting the case to a grand jury, and we presented the most comprehensive case possible.”

“The current laws on deadly force have created a system that utterly and abjectly failed Mr. Prude and so many others before him. Serious reform is needed, not only at the Rochester Police Department, but to our criminal justice system as a whole.”

“I am committed to effecting the change that is so desperately needed, and I will be unshakeable in my efforts to see it through,” James continued. James recommended that emergency personnel be trained in dealing with mental health crises and that police responses should be minimized or eliminated when dealing with mental health calls.

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said the jury’s decision was “not justice.”

“The Attorney General’s grand jury opted for impunity, not accountability. This is not justice.”

“Mental health crises require mental health expertise, not violence at the hands of police. It’s time for a complete transformation of community safety, beginning with removing the Rochester Police Department from the role of first responders in mental health crises and putting trained mental health professionals in charge.”