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Rochester, N.Y., to pay $12M in Daniel Prude wrongful death suit

Rochester, N.Y. Mayor Malik Evans Thursday confirmed the city's agreement to pay $12 million in the Daniel Prude wrongful death suit, the largest civil rights settlement in the city's history. Prude was suffocated as police held him down during a mental health crisis episode in 2020. <a href="https://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589934829">Photo from Rochester Mayor's office</a>
Rochester, N.Y. Mayor Malik Evans Thursday confirmed the city's agreement to pay $12 million in the Daniel Prude wrongful death suit, the largest civil rights settlement in the city's history. Prude was suffocated as police held him down during a mental health crisis episode in 2020. Photo from Rochester Mayor's office

Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Rochester, N.Y., has reached a $12 million wrongful death settlement in a lawsuit over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died from asphyxiation during an arrest in 2020 after family reported he was having a mental health crisis.

It's the largest civil rights settlement in the city's history, according to Rochester officials. It is not an admission of wrongdoing.

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"Given the costs of continued litigation, this settlement was the best decision. It would have cost taxpayers even more to litigate, and would have placed a painful toll on our community," Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said Thursday, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Prude's death led to weeks of protests, firing of the police chief and former Mayor Lovely Warren's loss in a primary mayoral election.

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In March 2021, investigators found that Warren and other city officials misled the public about Prude's death as he was held to the ground with his head covered by police on March 23, 2020.

In a video released by Prude's family, Daniel was seen speaking incoherently, repeatedly asking for a gun. The video shows police pushing him down to the ground from a sitting position while he was handcuffed. One officer placed a knee on Prude's back.

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The video also showed officers laughing and joking with paramedics. According to NBC News, a New York grand jury decided not to indict any of the officers involved.

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"Nothing can ever truly compensate me and my siblings for the killing of our father by Rochester police," Nathaniel McFarland, Prude's son, said in a statement. "Resolving this case is a step in the right direction.

"My family needs to heal, and communities need to know that there will be at least some accountability when police kill people like my dad, whose only crime was needing help."

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