Rochester police serve officer in Daniel Prude death with ‘departmental charges’

Rochester Daniel Prude
Posted at 8:59 AM, Sep 24, 2021

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Police Department says it has served an officer involved in the death of Daniel Prude with “departmental charges.”

According to a press release obtained by WHAM and Reuters, officer Mark Vaughn was charged on Thursday in connection with his role in the March 2020 incident, where police held Prude down naked and handcuffed on a city street until he stopped breathing. It's unclear at this time what the "departmental charges" entail.

“The department fully supports officer Vaughn’s right to due process and to defend himself against the charges, of which no pre-determined outcome has been put in place. A formal hearing will be scheduled in the future,” wrote the department.

No other officers have been charged in the matter.

WHAM reports that Prude was high on PCP when police encountered him naked after his brother called for help, saying his sibling was experiencing a mental health crisis. After he was restrained by officers, Prude reportedly lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital, where he died days later.

The county medical examiner listed Prude’s manner of death as a homicide, and he died of asphyxiation.

The death of the 41-year-old Black man sparked nightly protests in the upstate New York city after video of the incident was released months later. That video showed officer Vaughn putting a spit sock over Prude's head, WHAM reports.

This past February, a grand jury announced that it would not seek charges against the officers involved in the incident.

The police department says it remains committed to reform efforts and taking necessary action to ensure trust and transparency with the community it’s sworn to serve.

Police say they’ve taken steps in the past 17 months to improve its policies, including launching a crisis intervention team, new officer training programs, and formal protest response plans. The department says it also released four revised officer policies that went into effect earlier this year, called “duty to intervene, chokehold ban, mental hygiene detention and de-escalation.”

The department says it’s also revising its use of force policies and the changes will go into effect following formal officer training this fall.