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Rochester Settles Prude Case for $12 Million

The city of Rochester, N.Y., will pay $12 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit in a 2020 death that closely echoed the George Floyd murder, the Democrat & Chronicle reports. Daniel Prude, whose mental health crisis ended with police covering his head with a "spit hood" and pinning his head to the pavement, died months before Floyd but the incident was concealed until months afterward, sparking the very protests that city officials had tried to avoid. Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary and much of his command staff were fired or resigned. Singletary is now a Republican candidate for Congress.

The settlement, the largest of its kind in Rochester history, will go to Prude's five children minus almost $4 million in legal fees. The deal was struck after months of mediation led by two federal judges. The city admitted no liability but settled, Mayor Malik Evans said, to avoid even higher costs to litigate the case. On Thursday, Prude's son Nathaniel McFarland said in a press release that his father's "only crime was needing help." His death was ruled a homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint," with "excited delirium" and acute PCP intoxication as contributing factors. Body-camera video showed a naked Prude raving and spitting at officers in an 11-minute confrontation. Prude lost consciousness while pinned to the ground and died a week later. A criminal investigation by the state attorney general's office cleared all of the officers. The settlement amount matches the one paid by Louisville officials to the family of Breonna Taylor. Minneapolis officials settled with Floyd's family for $27 million.


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