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The family of Daniel Prude, visiting from Chicago and Florida, participate in a community celebration of life in Prude's memory on September 10, 2020, in Rochester, New York. Photo: Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images

A grand jury investigating the case of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old Black man who died after being restrained by police last year, overwhelming voted against charging three officers with criminally negligent homicide, according to the transcripts of the proceedings released Friday.

Why it matters: The decision not to charge the Rochester, New York, officers was announced in February, but the transcripts offer a rare glimpse into proceedings usually kept secret.

Catch up quick: Law enforcement was called after Prude experienced a mental health crisis, his brother has said.

  • Body-cam footage of Prude's arrest shows him naked, in the snowy street. Police put a mesh hood over his head and pinned him to the ground.
  • Several minutes later, Prude lost consciousness. He was taken off life support a week later.
  • A county medical examiner ruled Prude's death a homicide, arising from "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint," with PCP listed as a contributing factor to his death.
  • While his death initially garnered little attention, the release of the body-cam footage last September sparked several days of protests in Rochester, and Police Chief La'Ron Singletary was fired. Seven officers were also suspended.

Details: The grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses, including a medical expert who said the officers did nothing wrong, according to the transcripts.

  • Another expert witness, however, said "the decision to keep [Prude] on his stomach for that period of time was, was unreasonable and against police practice."
  • "The transcripts ... appear to show jurors grappling with a blizzard of technical information about police tactics, and expert testimonies that appeared at times to conflict," the New York Times notes.

What they're saying: "Our efforts to balance the scales of justice and ensure accountability can only go so far in the absence of transparency," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Friday.

  • "We took the unprecedented action of seeking to release the grand jury transcripts because the public deserves to know what happened in these proceedings," she added.

Don Thompson, a lawyer for Prude's family, said he was "infuriated" about what he learned from the transcripts and the decision not to indict the officers involved, per NYT.

  • “Who other than somebody who wears a special costume for their work gets this kind of deference in a homicide case? No one."

The big picture: The release of the transcripts comes amid the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Go deeper

Tamir Rice's family urges DOJ to reopen investigation of police killing

Demonstrators gather outside of The Justice Center on Dec. 29, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio to protest after a grand jury declined to indict Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann for the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice. Photo: Angelo Merendino via Getty Images

The family of Tamir Rice, the Black 12-year-old fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer in 2014, is asking President Biden's Justice Department to reopen the federal probe into his death.

Why it matters: Former Officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot and killed Rice, never faced charges. The Rice family's request comes amid outrage over the police killing of Daunte Wright earlier this week, Derek Chauvin's ongoing trial and the release of footage on Thursday showing the police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago.

Updated Apr 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Derek Chauvin will not testify at trial, invoking Fifth Amendment

Derek Chauvin's defense team rested its case Thursday after the former Minneapolis police officer said that he would not testify at his murder trial, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Why it matters: The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, is reverberating across the country. Closing arguments are expected by April 19.

Chicago releases video of fatal police shooting of 13-year-old boy

A small memorial is seen on April 15 in Chicago where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a police officer in March. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Chicago's independent police review board on Thursday released the body camera footage of an officer's fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29.

The big picture: Tension continues to rise nationwide in response to police misconduct and racism. Thursday's footage release comes days after officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright in a traffic stop near Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, is ongoing.

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