Cop Involved in Daniel Prude's Arrest Could Face Discipline After Internal Investigation

One of the police officers involved in the deadly arrest of Daniel Prude could face departmental discipline following an investigation by the Rochester (New York) Police Department, the Associated Press reported.

Prude died in March of 2020 after being detained by police during an apparent mental health episode. Officer Mark Vaughn was seen on a police body camera video pressing Prude's head to the pavement with his hands as others immobilized his legs. Vaughn is the only officer involved to be served with "departmental charges."

The county medical examiner ruled Prude's death a homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint" and cited the drug PCP as a contributing factor.

The Rochester Police Department released a statement that its Conflict Counsel "determined potential grounds for legal recourse in the case of Officer Vaughn, as it relates to the March 23, 2020, incident," Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan's office said in a statement.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Daniel Prude Protest
Joe Prude, the brother of Daniel Prude, addresses a crowd of demonstrators gathering in front of the Public Safety Building after marching for his brother on September 7, 2020, in Rochester, New York. One of the officers involved in Prude's deadly arrest may face disciplinary charges following an investigation by the Rochester Police Department. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

"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," the statement said. "No other officers have been charged in this matter."

No other details were provided.

Lawyers for the police said the officers were strictly following their training in a technique known as segmenting.

Following the release of the departmental findings, Mayor Lovely Warren indicated she would seek Vaughn's termination.

"Our community has suffered greatly from the tragic death of Daniel Prude," Warren said in a statement Friday.

She said she hoped that the work the city had done in creating person-in-crisis teams, changing police procedures, funding a police accountability board and training more officers in de-escalation techniques "ensures that, going forward, we always respond to those in need with compassion and humanity."

The county medical examiner listed Prude's manner of death as homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint" and cited the drug PCP as a contributing factor.

A grand jury assembled by state Attorney General Letitia James declined to indict any of the officers.

An attorney for Vaughn did not immediately respond to a phone message to his office Friday. A spokesperson for the Rochester Police Locust Club, the police union, said the union had no comment.

Daniel Prude Brother
Joe Prude (right), brother of Daniel Prude, and his son Armin, stand with a picture of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, on September 3, 2020. One of several police officers seen on video pinning down Prude, a Black man who died after being detained on a street in upstate New York, faces potential departmental discipline, the Rochester Police Department said. Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo