WXXI AM News

Joe Prude, brother of Daniel, angered, dumbfounded by grand jury decision

Feb 25, 2021

Joe Prude (center) in September 2020 announcing his brother's death.
Credit Max Schulte / WXXI News

Joe Prude said he’s still in shock over a grand jury’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against the Rochester Police officers involved in his brother Daniel’s death.

Joe called 911 nearly a year ago with concerns about Daniel's mental health. Officers found Daniel naked in 30-degree weather on Jefferson Avenue. He was restrained in the middle of the street and suffocated. He died a week later.

New York Attorney General Letitia James spoke to Joe Prude on Tuesday prior to making the announcement, but Joe said he was hesitant to talk to her. 

“You know, I was stunned,” Prude said. “In disbelief. Like how, can you (James) sit there and tell me that you presented all the evidence that you possibly could and this is the turn out? No one, neither one of them is being charged for that.

“Do I trust the system? No. Do I think she could have done more? Yep. And it's like, where do we go from here? Do another innocent black man gotta lose their life at the hands of the law enforcement of the Rochester Police Department before they figure out that they really need to do something? I’m dumbfounded right now, the whole world watched it, how else did he stop breathing?”

James’ statement Tuesday echoed the medical examiner's report, which called Daniel Prude’s death a homicide. It also mentioned that he had PCP in his system and that he experienced “excited delirium,” a condition that combined with stress could cause death. Joe Prude does not think the diagnosis played a role in Daniel’s death. 

“Just like I told her, the whole world watched them kill him, and the first term they come up with, to come up to cover the police, (expletive) is excited delirium," said Prude. “That’s not even a medical term, you can ask a real doctor whether it exists. I’m not a damn doctor and I know better than that.

“This is mind-boggling, man. Because ain’t nothing gonna reduce this pain, ain’t nothing going to reduce this hurt.”

A civil suit is being pursued by Daniel Prude’s children, but Joe Prude wouldn’t speak on it. He said he intends to fight for his brother’s justice. When asked what justice is at this point, Joe Prude said he wanted the officers to pay a price for Daniel’s death. 

“Fired, held accountable, stop pacifying those clowns with badges,” said Prude. “That’s all they're doing, that’s all the Locust (Club) union is, a mob within a mob, a gang within a gang.“

The Locust Club, the RPD’s union, said this week that it would not comment on the grand jury's decision until it reviewed the attorney general's report.

A judge ruled Tuesday that the grand jury’s records will be opened in the coming days.