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NYS Attorney General will empanel grand jury in Daniel Prude investigation

Word from the New York State Attorney General’s office on Saturday that a grand jury will be involved in the investigation into the death of Daniel Prude, the 41 year old man who died while in police custody last March. Prude, who is from Chicago, was visiting his brother last March when his brother Joe called police to try and get help for Daniel because he was having mental health issues. Daniel Prude was later seen running naked on Jefferson Avenue, and police pinned him to the pavement when they restrained him. He lost consciousness and died a week later.

NY Attorney General Letitia James has already said her office has been investigating his death, which is part of a state law requiring that investigation when a civilian dies at the hands of police.

On Saturday, James released this statement:

“The Prude family and the Rochester community have been through great pain and anguish. My office will immediately move to empanel a grand jury as part of our exhaustive investigation into this matter.”

The AG’s office would not comment further on what, if anything additional, the empaneling of a grand jury in this case might indicate.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also issued this statement:

"Earlier this week, I called for the investigation into Daniel Prude's death to be expedited. Today, I applaud Attorney General Tish James for taking swift, decisive action in empaneling a grand jury -- justice delayed is justice denied and the people of New York deserve the truth."

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren issued a statement on Saturday, saying that, “I thank Attorney General James for taking this action because it is a trying time in Rochester. I ask that the community to allow the AG’s process to go forth on behalf of the Prude family.”

Details about Prude’s death came to light this past week when bodycam video from Rochester Police was released, causing outrage around the nation, and resulting in three days of rallies and demonstrations in the city. Another event is scheduled for Saturday night on Jefferson Avenue.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.