Rochester Wegmans Shut Down by Protesters on Anniversary of Daniel Prude's Deadly Police Encounter

Demonstrators marched through Rochester, New York, on Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of Daniel Prude's fatal encounter with the city's police.

Videos of the protest show people chanting "no justice, no peace" and "Black Lives Matter" as they made their way through the city. The march ended at a Wegmans. The store had reportedly shut down around 11 a.m. as demonstrators set up in the parking lot.

"Our East Ave. store is currently closed due to protest activity taking place outside of the store," Wegmans said in a statement at 12:15 p.m. ET. "At this time, no customers remain in the store, and the doors will remain closed. Our number one priority is the safety of our employees and customers."

Some chalk messages written by demonstrators outside the grocery store read "BLM," "say their names" and "defund RPD."

Prude, 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, was in Rochester visiting his brother last year when he began having a mental health episode. He was admitted to a hospital for evaluation, then released. Early on the morning of March 23, Prude ran naked from the house, prompting his brother, Joe Prude, to call police.

Video footage of the police encounter showed Prude largely complying with police as they detained him. At some point, Prude said he had coronavirus and officers covered his head with a hood, commonly known as a "spit hood." Then three officers physically restrained him and pinned him to the ground.

Prude died a week later and his death was ruled a homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint," with excited delirium and PCP intoxication as contributing factors.

But Prude's death became public knowledge only when his family released the body camera footage in a news conference in September 2020, against the backdrop of a nationwide discussion of police brutality and racism. His death sparked a debate over how police should handle mental health emergencies.

"I placed a phone call for my brother to get help," Joe Prude said at a news conference last fall. "Not for my brother to get lynched."

Seven officers involved in the encounter with Prude were suspended after the release of the body camera footage—five months after his death. But in February, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that a grand jury convened to investigate the case declined to bring charges against any of the officers who arrested Prude.

"The criminal justice system has demonstrated an unwillingness to hold law enforcement officers accountable in the unjustified killing of unarmed African Americans," James said.

Newsweek has reached out to the attorney representing the Prude family for comment on the anniversary.

Daniel Prude one-year anniversary march
A makeshift memorial for Daniel Prude is seen prior to a march on September 6, 2020, in Rochester, New York. Prude died after being arrested on March 23 by Rochester police officers who had placed a "spit hood" over his head and pinned him to the ground while restraining him. Demonstrators gathered in Rochester on March 23, 2021, to mark the one-year anniversary of his fatal encounter with police. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images