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7 Officers Suspended as a Black Man’s Suffocation Roils Rochester

But soon after, Mr. Prude began behaving erratically, accusing his brother of wanting to kill him and even seemingly trying to take his own life. “He jumped 21 stairs down to my basement, head first,” Joe Prude told the police.

Joe Prude had his brother admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital for an evaluation. Mr. Prude was released hours later, returning to Joe Prude’s home, where he seemed to have calmed down. But then he asked for a cigarette, and when his brother rose to get one, he bolted out a back door, barely dressed.

Joe Prude called the police, giving a description of what his brother had been wearing — “white tank top, black long-johns, no shoes, no coat” — and saying he seemed to be under the influence of PCP. He told an officer that he feared Daniel may have run toward the sound of an approaching train, to possibly try again to hurt himself.

As they spoke, a call came over the officer’s radio: “There’s a male at the location with blood all over him telling the complainant he’s sick and not wearing clothes,” a dispatcher announced.

Joe Prude, hearing the call, said, “That’s my brother.”

Body camera footage shows officers arriving at 3:16 a.m. near downtown Rochester, their headlights illuminating a naked Mr. Prude in the roadway. The police believe he had broken a store window with a brick, and minutes earlier had stopped a passing tow truck driver and told him he had the coronavirus.

An officer stepped out of his police vehicle, pointed a Taser at Mr. Prude and ordered him to get on the ground. Mr. Prude immediately obeyed, lying face down and spread-eagled. He did not resist as officers handcuffed him behind his back.

He alternately demanded officers “get off me” while imploring, “In Jesus Christ I pray,” at one point asking for money, and at others, for a gun. Officers could be heard chuckling in the background, until Mr. Prude grew more agitated: “Give me your gun. I need it.” All the while, he remained sitting.

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