Daniel Prude needed mental health help but America killed him because he was black

Daniel Prude needed mental health help but America killed him because he was black.

Prude, who was unarmed, died in March in Rochester, New York State, days after being hooded by police and held face down for two minutes following a call for help when he was in mental health crisis.

Joe Prude, brother of Daniel Prude, right, and his son Armin, stand with a picture of Daniel Prude in Rochester, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 2020. Prude, 41, suffocated after police in Rochester put a "spit hood" over his head while being taken into custody. He died March 30, after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police. 

The release of the appalling video triggered outrage this week and sparked another set of protests just weeks after Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man, was shot by a white cop in Kenosha, Wisconsin, seven times in the back at point blank range as his children watched helplessly from the back sit of his car.

Prude was killed two months before George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

That killing triggered outrage and nationwide protests and intensified calls for racial justice in the United States.

After killing Prude, the police lied but the truth finally came out this week.

“The appalling circumstances of Daniel Prude’s death illustrate many of the problems within the police force, including systemic racism, the use of potentially dangerous spit hoods, and excessive use of force against a man exhibiting signs of mental illness. People should not die when they call the police for help,” Justin Mazzola, the deputy director of research at Amnesty International USA said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA on Thursday.

“Video footage shows Daniel Prude complying with police orders, yet officers forced a hood over his head and held him face down on the pavement. Instead of de-escalating the situation, police treated Daniel Prude in a distressing and humiliating way.

“Spit hoods can cause extreme distress and restricted breathing. They are especially dangerous when someone is already in crisis as Daniel Prude appeared to be. This is just one of a number of cases of people being suffocated by police and illustrates the need for systemic police reform.

“There must be a thorough investigation into Daniel Prude’s death, as part of a wide-ranging reform of policing practices. Daniel Prude and his family have a right to justice,” Mazzola added.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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