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Daniel Prude's daughter calls suspension of cops in father's death a "slap in the face"

Rochester officers suspended after Black man’s death
Rochester officers suspended after Black man... 02:21

Seven police officers in Rochester, New York, were suspended with pay on Thursday over the March death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude. But Prude's 18-year-old daughter Tashyra, who described her father as "a family man" and a "protector," told CBS News the suspensions were a "slap in the face."

"[The suspension] is just a slap in the face, especially with pay," Tashyra said. "There's footage of officers murdering an unarmed Black man who was handcuffed with a spit bag over his head, meaning he cannot attack anyone."

"That's a paid vacation, if you ask me," she added. "That's beyond disrespectful to me, my siblings and the rest of my family and to everybody who cared about my father." 

Prude's death was not widely known until his family shared body camera footage of the incident on Wednesday. The footage showed officers encountering Prude naked in the street, after his family called 911 to report that he'd gone missing after he'd been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. The officers handcuffed him, put a spit hood over his head, and pressed his face into the ground for more than three minutes. 

Prude was transported to the hospital and died seven days later, according to the medical examiner's report. The report called Prude's death a homicide, and attributed it to "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint," as well as "excited delirium" and PCP intoxication. 

"I first found out, I was told that he was in the hospital, and then I kept receiving mixed information," Tashyra said. "One day he was dead and the next day he wasn't. So it was a lot of mixed emotions."

She said she'll remember her father as a "vibrant" person who was also the "life of the party."

"He's never been a downer," she said. "He's very caring. He loves his family. He's a family man. He's a protector."

Tashyra, who was a senior in high school at the time of her father's death, told CBS News that she did not know her father used drugs or that he was struggling with his mental health.  

"I've never known my father to struggle with substance abuse. I've never known my father to have mental health issues," she said, adding,  "So when I look at [the footage], it's just like man, my father was hurting, and he needed help, and it makes me feel bad because as his child, I wish I could have been there to help in a way. I wish I could have been there to calm my father down, and I couldn't do that. So just seeing the footage, it breaks me down."

"If I don't have to watch it again, I would never want to watch it again," she added. 

Tashyra said seeing her father in the police footage also brought back vivid memories of when she learned of George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minneapolis, which was also captured on video.

"It was very triggering, and especially now that I've seen my father's video because I know for a fact that my father wasn't resisting; George Floyd wasn't resisting; all these other people who have been killed by the police were not resisting," she said. "Nobody was putting up a fight. My father complied with everything that happened." 

"And then looking back on George Floyd's video, he's screaming, 'I can't breathe,'" she added. "And they're just, they're killing him. And they hear my father's voice in the video saying, 'You're trying to kill me.'"

Tashyra, who is now a freshman in college, said prayer and her family are helping her move forward. But she said she regrets the moments she never got to share with her father. 

When she went to college, she said, "my father wasn't here for that drive. He wasn't here to help decorate my room and go out to dinner afterwards. He missed out on a lot of key elements of my life."

"And he's going to continue to miss out on a lot of key elements of my life because he's no longer living," she added. 

When she announced the suspension of the seven officers, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said that the police chief had not told her the full story about Prude's death, and that she only became aware of the body camera footage on August 4. 

In a press conference a day earlier, Warren and Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary said they had not spoken publicly about the case or taken action sooner because they had turned over their investigation to the New York Attorney General, who is required by law to investigate the deaths of unarmed victims in police custody. 

Antonio Romanucci, the attorney representing Tashyra, slammed the city for not releasing information earlier. 

"It's so hard to hear the fact that we're always told 'we're not trying to cover anything up,'" Romanucci told CBS News. "Well, you may not be covering it up, but you're certainly hiding it from the public. Five months is an awfully long time for us not to see something that we know is patently wrong."

Romanucci said the next step should be for the mayor, city council and police department to be transparent by handing over all body camera footage and reports. "A lawsuit has to be considered and will be considered, and I'm sure one is forthcoming," he added.

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