A grand jury declined to indict Rochester, NY, police officers in the death of Daniel Prude, a black man whom officers detained during a mental health crisis last year.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the decision Tuesday while calling for criminal justice reforms to hold police accountable and decrying “a system that at its core is broken.” She said she was disappointed in the outcome of the high-profile case, the Washington Post reports.
Prude’s death sparked protests and riots after his family released graphic footage of his arrest.
The officers had covered Prude’s head with a “spit hood” intended to shield officers from bodily fluids during the arrest. The naked man was handcuffed and on the ground as snow fell during the March 23 incident.
Some mental health experts say officers neglected to use known tactics for helping people in crisis.
A medical examiner eventually ruled Prude’s death a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
The Rochester police union president has defended the officers who arrested Prude, saying they appeared to follow protocol and urging changes to procedure if necessary. “Let’s not indict a police officer at the lowest level so the public feels or the family feels that there some semblance of justice,” Michael Mazzeo, president of Rochester Police Locust Club, told The Washington Post last year.