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ROCHESTER, New York -- Police officers shown on body camera video holding Daniel Prude down naked and handcuffed on a city street last winter until he stopped breathing will not face criminal charges, according to a grand jury decision announced Tuesday.

The 41-year-old Black man's death last March sparked nightly protests in Rochester, New York, after the video was released nearly six months later, with demonstrators demanding a reckoning for police and city officials.



State Attorney General Letitia James, whose office took over the prosecution and impaneled a grand jury, said her office "presented the strongest case possible" and she was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.

"The criminal justice system has frustrated efforts to hold law enforcement officers accountable for the unjustified killing of African Americans. And what binds these cases is a tragic loss of life in circumstances in which the death could have been avoided," James said at the Aenon Missionary Baptist Church in Rochester.

RELATED | Rochester mayor fires police chief in fallout over Daniel Prude death

"One recognizes the influences of race, from the slave codes to Jim Crow to lynching to the war on crime to the overincarceration of people of color: Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. And now Daniel Prude," James later added.

Lawyers for the seven police officers suspended over Prude's death have said the officers were strictly following their training that night, employing a restraining technique known as "segmenting." They claimed Prude's use of PCP, which caused irrational behavior, was "the root cause" of his death.

The video made public on Sept. 4 shows Prude handcuffed and naked with a spit hood over his head as an officer pushes his face against the ground, while another officer presses a knee to his back. The officers held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. He was taken off life support a week later.

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

Prude's family filed a federal lawsuit alleging the police department sought to cover up the true nature of his death.

Officers Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris and Mark Vaughn, along with Sgt. Michael Magri, were suspended after Prude's death became public.

Calls were made to the officers' attorneys. Matthew Rich, who represents four officers, said "we're still taking it in" and said the attorneys would speak to the press later.

"While I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community, and communities across the country will rightfully be devastated and disappointed, we have to respect this decision," James said in a prepared release.

A message seeking comment on the decision was left for Prude family lawyer Elliot Shields.

Democratic Mayor Lovely Warren fired police chief La'Ron Singletary shortly after the video's release, while rejecting calls from demonstrators that she resign. Singletary has said in legal papers that Warren told him to lie to support her assertion that she hadn't learned of Prude's death until months later, and fired him for his refusal to do so. A city spokesperson said his version of events confirms Warren never saw the video until August.

Warren announced a run for a third term in January and pleaded not guilty in October to an unrelated indictment alleging she broke campaign finance rules and committed fraud. The city's public integrity office found no ethical lapses by the mayor in a narrow review of Prude's death.

The city halted its investigation into Prude's death when James' office began its own investigation in April. Under New York law, deaths of unarmed people in police custody are typically turned over to the attorney general's office, rather than handled by local officials.

James planned to meet with Prude's brother, criminal justice advocates and faith leaders in Rochester to devise a plan to fight for a more just system.

"The voices of individuals of good will must be heard and they are marching and crying out for a criminal justice system that is fair and just," James said Tuesday. "And so we must use boulders of righteousness, and hammers of intentional activism and mallets of moral clarity to bend the arc, the moral arc, towards justice and bring real equality in our time for all God's people."

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Tags: man killed police brutality police prude’s death prude’s criminal justice system investigation after the video police officers his death prude family months later the decision in rochester a grand jury police chief daniel prude

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Fast Facts

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Sex worker charged in overdose death of Cipriani chef Andrea Zamperoni

A Queens prostitute on Wednesday was charged in connection to the 2019 overdose death of Cipriani Dolci head chef Andrea Zamperoni.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors allege Angelina Barini, 42, and her boyfriend, Leslie Lescano, 44, lured the chef to the Kamway Lodge and conspired to spike his drink with the date-rape drug GBL on Aug. 18, 2019. Zamperoni passed out on the seedy motel room floor and died.

The femme fatale was previously indicted for the overdose deaths of two other johns — but this is the first time she’s been charged directly in connection to the 33-year-old chef’s demise.

She faces charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute GBL, distribution and possession with intent to distribute GBL, and obstruction for plotting to dispose of Zamperoni’s body.

After police busted her with Zamperoni’s decomposing corpse — which had been stuffed upside down in a garbage can in the corner of her motel room — she was arrested and quickly tied to the deaths of the two other johns.

Leslie Lescano was also charged and faces up to 20 years in prison on the top count.Facebook

It’s unclear why it took authorities so long to charge her for the crimes related to Zamperoni.

Lescano, who faces two counts for conspiring with Barini to drug and rob Zamperoni, allegedly told Homeland Security Investigations agents that the blonde temptress typically used “liquid G” — referring to GBL — to knock men unconscious so she could rob them.

After Zamperoni was drugged on Aug. 18, Lescano allegedly went on a shopping spree with the victim’s AmEx card, buying gift cards, cigarettes and snacks at Barini’s behest.

But the situation apparently turned deadly, and that afternoon, the seductress was allegedly captured on surveillance footage dragging a garbage can from a nearby alley back to her motel room.

She later messaged her friends on Facebook and asked if they had a hand truck she could borrow.

Three days later, after Zamperoni was reported missing, law enforcement officers knocked on the motel room door. When Barini opened it, they were accosted by a “strong odor, consistent with the smell of a dead body and burning incense,” court papers charge.

A pair of New York City police officers enter the Kamway Lodge in Queens Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP

The officers also spotted a garbage can with a “bare human foot sticking out,” HSI agents allege.

During a subsequent search, they found a suitcase and a saw.

Barini and Lescano were arraigned on the indictment Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court and both entered not guilty pleas. They both remain behind bars.

Prosecutors said that they were engaged in plea negotiations, which they described as “productive.”

If convicted, Lescano faces up to 20 years in prison on the top count and Barini up to life.

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