A grand jury's decision not to file charges against police in the death of 41-year-old Black man Daniel Prude sparked protests in New York, as well as expressions of frustration from the state’s attorney general.

The New York attorney general’s office announced late Tuesday that a grand jury opted against indicting any police officer involved in the March death of Prude. Police last year restrained a naked Prude, who was under the influence of the powerful hallucinogenic PCP.

After placing a hood over his head, officers held him face down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. He was pronounced brain dead and later died after being taken off life support in a hospital in Rochester.

Protesters, many of them holding Black Lives Matter signs, took to the streets of Rochester to voice their frustration.

"This is not what we expected, this is not what we wanted, and until there is justice in this system, they will not get any peace from us," one demonstrator told CNN.

New York Attorney General Latitia James said that Prude was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time and needed help, not mistreatment.

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

In a statement, the Rochester police noted the investigation into the March death was ongoing and the officers involved were on administrative leave. The civil rights division of the federal Justice Department, meanwhile, said it would review the case and determine if a federal response is necessary.

State lawmakers are working on a draft bill called Daniel’s Law, which would require first responders to send mental health counselors rather than police to incidents like Prude’s.

 

 

The grand jury announcement came on the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man fatally shot in Georgia after an encounter with three white men, bringing the issue of racial injustice to the forefront.

A final draft of Daniel’s Law is expected by April.

This image taken from police bodycam video released by the Rochester, New York, Police Department, shows police arresting Daniel Prude on March 23, 2020 after putting a hood on his head This image taken from police bodycam video released by the Rochester, New York, Police Department, shows police arresting Daniel Prude on March 23, 2020 after putting a hood on his head Photo: Rochester Police Department / -