Federal Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Children of Daniel Prude
Suit charging Wrongful Death and Civil Rights Violations of Chicago resident Daniel Prude to be heard in US District Court in Rochester
Rochester, New York (March 8, 2021) - Bringing a national gaze and federal civil rights law to bear on the horrific death of Daniel Prude due to the actions of (or at the hands of) Rochester, New York police, attorneys representing the Estate of Mr. Prude filed an amended complaint in the Courtroom of Judge Frank Geraci, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.
The filing, which replaces legal claims previously brought by Mr. Prude’s sister, seeks compensation for Mr. Prude’s five children, who have been declared the rightful heirs by state courts in New York and Illinois, where Mr. Prude resided. In January, Judge Geraci ruled that Nathaniel McFarland, Mr. Prude’s oldest son, and Estate Administrator should take charge of the lawsuit that was originally filed in September.
Nathaniel McFarland, Mr. Prude’s eldest son, who like three of his four siblings was raised and now resides in Chicago said: “My father had a hard life, but he was a great dad. He always showed me and my brother and sisters how much he loved us. Our hearts are broken by his death, but this lawsuit has given us hope for the future.”
The amended complaint prepared by Mr. McFarland’s new legal team of experienced civil rights and wrongful death litigators, charges that both the actions of the police as well as the subsequent attempted cover-up by the police and city government of Rochester constitute violations of Mr. Prude’s constitutional and common law rights.
As the amended complaint states: “On March 23, 2020, Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, suffered an acute mental health crisis in Rochester, New York. His family sought help from the Rochester police, and that was a mistake—a fatal mistake. Instead of providing him with care and assistance, officers of the Rochester Police Department cruelly abused him, mocked him, and killed him. Mr. McFarland’s attorneys stress that while all were disappointed with the failure of the New York Grand Jury to indict the Rochester police offers, this case will show that Mr. Prude’s 4th and 14th Amendment rights were violated and that now, with public scrutiny, they are confident that those responsible will be held accountable.”
“Running through the streets, Mr. Prude sought help as he struggled with a severe mental health crisis,” said attorney Stephen Schwarz, managing partner of Rochester law firm Faraci Lange. “He asked for assistance, instead he was killed; abused; asphyxiated due to excessive force; and then ignored when he could have been resuscitated,” added Attorney Stephen Schwarz.
The complaint cites Rochester’s long history of police abuse of people of color and the Police Department’s long refusal to accept reform. “As we will demonstrate during trial, for years Rochester has maintained a policy of deliberate indifference to the rights of Blacks and Latinos who encounter its police officers”, continued Mr. Schwarz Tragically, it is also too often the case when persons of color are suffering from problems related to mental illness. Daniel Prude’s death is an outrage”
Attorney Matthew Piers, president of the firm Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym expressed confidence that in federal court the police and the city will be held accountable, but he stressed that while horrific, what happened to Daniel Prude is not new to Rochester or to the rest of the country:
“The shocking abuse and killing of Daniel Prude are part of a long and tragic – and completely unacceptable - history in this country of the perpetration of violence on people of color by police officers. Our legal team is honored to be selected to fight for justice in this most important case. We will make sure that the deadly policies and practices of the Rochester police that killed Daniel Prude will receive the attention they deserve and prompt the changes needed not only in Rochester but throughout the nation.”
Click the buttons below to view the Amended Complaint and police body cam videos of the incident:
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