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Daniel Prude's death: how many Rochester police officers were suspended and why?

Daniel Prude died by asphyxiation in March after police in upstate New York put a hood over his head as he knelt on the ground, handcuffed and naked.

Daniel Prude's death: how many Rochester police officers were suspended and why?
BRENDAN MCDERMID REUTERS

The head of Rochester, New York's police union on Friday defended the actions of officers involved in the March arrest of Daniel Prude, a Black man whose death triggered protests, saying they followed protocols in using a hood to restrain him.

"They had to do exactly what they did," Rochester Police Locust Club President Michael Mazzeo told a news conference on Friday, adding that there was a "substantial amount of evidence to show why the protocols" used by the officers were employed.

Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, died after he was arrested by police in Rochester, New York, in March. The incident has become the latest flash point in a summer of civil unrest over racism and police brutality.

Prude's family this week released body camera footage from his arrest, showing him kneeling on the ground, handcuffed and naked while a group of officers putting a hood over his head - apparently to prevent his spit from possibly transmitting the novel coronavirus. Release of the video triggered protests in the city in northern New York.

Daniel Prude's brother, Joe Prude, is seen following a news conference in Rochester, New YorkDaniel Prude's brother, Joe Prude, is seen following a news conference over the death of a Black man, Daniel Prude, after police put a spit hood over his head during an arrest on March 23, in Rochester, New York, U.S. September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Seven police officers were suspended Thursday over the arrest.

The medical examiner has ruled Prude's death a homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint." An autopsy also cited intoxication by phencyclidine, or the drug PCP, among additional contributing factors to his death, according to the New York Times.