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Transcripts Reveal 15 Jurors in the Daniel Prude Case Voted Against Charging Cops

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On Friday, New York General Attorney Letitia James released the grand jury proceedings’ transcripts. This is the first time that details of a police-involved death case are publicly revealed in New York’s history.

What We Know:

  • The documents detail nine days of testimony from Daniel Prude’s brother, police officers, experts, and other witnesses. It also reports that jurors voted 15-5 not to charge the three officers. The initial announcement was made in February; James said her office concluded there was sufficient evidence to present to the jury. She also claimed they presented the “most comprehensive case possible.” 
  • James remained “extremely disappointed with the verdict.” A judge granted her permission to unseal and publicly release the grand jury minutes associated with the investigation. She wanted to inform Daniel Prude’s family, the Rochester community, and communities around the country about the severity of this non-sentencing. She says this will help effect the change the country desperately needs. 

Serious reform is needed, not only at the Rochester Police Department but to our criminal justice system as a whole,” she stated. 

  • James’ office revealed the grand jury met on nine separate occasions between October 2020 and February 2021. Altogether, they spent more than nine hours in total. Rochester First holds all the transcripts of the proceedings. 
  • Jurors decided not to charge the policemen involved in the killing despite witnesses’ testimonies. The medical examiner affirmed Prude’s cause of death was a combination of asphyxia complications from excited delirium and PCP intoxication. Additionally, he testified that the chemical changes within Prude’s body came from respiratory failure. No notable injuries in the cardiovascular or respiratory systems were present, though. Ultimately, he declared, Prude’s death was a homicide. He believes this because his death occurred at the hands of another person. An EMT mentioned he never saw somebody restrained in such a manner and wondered if officers had permission to do so. 
  • Police at the scene also provided evidence. One officer who never got physical with Prude said he kept trying to get up. He was also kicking his feet. This was why one officer made contact even though Prude was handcuffed. Furthermore, he said the three policemen used the segmenting technique taught in training. After this, Prude’s breathing became labored, his position changed, and he vomited. Another policeman told the jury he laughed at some of Prude’s “off the wall comments.” This happened before handcuffing Prude.
  • The Prude family lawyers expressed outrage at the decision. Don Thompson, a lawyer for Daniel’s brother Joe, dislikes the advantages and lack of consequences given to police officers. Another attorney, Elliot Shields, believes the attorney general’s office wanted jurors not to charge the law enforcement agents. He suggested if policemen “hadn’t laid a hand on him,” Daniel would be alive. However, the lawyer assisting on behalf of the officers replied the result fits the case. He apologized if “it does not fit Mr. Shields’ agenda.”
  • Prude’s death is among the many who have died at the hands of the police. Yet, U.S. citizens fight for police reform to reduce the number of deaths significantly. Derek Chauvin is currently awaiting sentencing for the death of George Floyd, which occurred two months after Prude’s death. After the shooting of Daunte Wright, Brooklyn Center residents called for the resignation of Officer Kim Potter and Chief Tim Gannon.

While the police officers avoided criminal charges, they may still be held accountable alongside the city of Rochester. This is because Prude’s estate has filed a civil lawsuit. Federal civil rights action is still possible, as well as disciplinary charges. US News explains more on possible outcomes. Nevertheless, it raises the possibility of justice for Prude’s untimely death.

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Headlines

Black Women Lead Initiative to Raise $100M for Black Girls and Women in the South

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The Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium is looking to raise $100 million in the next 10 years.

What We Know:

  • LaTosha Brown is one of the notable activists responsible for having a hand in turning Georgia into a blue state last election cycle. Brown is the co-founder of Black Votes Matter, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. Another community that is joining this effort is Margo Miller. Miller is a Tennessee native is the executive director of the Appalachian Community Fund.
  • The Appalachian Community Fund is a non-profit looking to counter poverty and improve the lives of residents of Central Appalachia. Both Brown and Miller want to empower others to continue in their footsteps. Another member of the Southern Black Girls and Women Consortium is Felecia Lucky, who is the president of the Black Belt Community Foundation. Executive director of the Fund for Southern Communities, Alice Jenkins, is also a member.
  • The consortium has given itself the task of raising $100 million for Black women and girls over the next decade. As of today, they have already raised $10 million of that total and are in the process of raising more. Some of the funds have already been distributed to organizations in the form of grants. The group hosted a chat via their Twitter account, @Blackgirlsdream, on March 31st to discuss the state of women of color.
  • In an interview with theGrio, Brown expressed that their focus was on the South because the majority of Black people live in the South. The group of women designed listening sessions to learn Black Girl’s perceptions about themselves, their needs, their dreams, and the resources they need. The group then used this information to design funding approaches that ensure a fair distribution of funds.

The group hopes that their work will result in a shift in how Black girls in the South see themselves.

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Kansas Coach Fired for Using N-Word Toward Black Player

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The head baseball coach at Olathe North Highschool in Kansas has now been fired after using the N-word toward a Black player.

What We Know:

  • The father of student Tony Banks commented that he believes head coach Pete Flood was attempting to “derail” his son’s successful athletic career. Flood is now officially terminated from teaching in Olathe Public Schools after being suspended for a time period. The District recommended Flood’s termination on Friday. On Monday, the District board voted to fire him unanimously.
  • Banks’ son is the only Black player on Olathe North Highschools’ baseball team. His son was allegedly playing rap music during practice when Flood said to him, “We don’t play that N– music over here. We only play country and rock music.”
  • The coach claimed he was only referring to the music’s lyrics and not the student’s race. He goes on to say that he has never called anyone a racial slur in his 25 years of teaching nor in his personal life.
  • Flood has expressed regret in saying the N-word aloud but doesn’t regret telling the student to change the music. Banks expressed, “We really wanted to move beyond this. We’re not attention seekers.”
  • Olathe School Board President Joe Beveridge called Flood’s actions “inexcusable.” The Board of Education met in a special board meeting on Monday morning to discuss the situation. The conversation that took place wasn’t in doubt because there is no justification for a coach to talk to any student in that manner. Banks called other parents to contact Principal Janson Hermanon and Athletic Director Josh Price for Flood’s removal. Flood had been employed in the school district since 1996.

Pete Flood started as Olathe North’s head baseball coach at the beginning of this school year.

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Crime

7 People Dead In Colorado Birthday Party Shooting

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According to authorities, a lone gunman opened fire at a birthday party on Sunday, killing six before killing himself.

What We Know:

  • Shortly after midnight, the shooting took place in a mobile home park on the east side of Colorado Springs. Officers responded to a call at 12:18 a.m. and arrived at the trailer to find six adults dead, according to NPR. Another man with serious injuries was found who later died at the hospital.
  • In what Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called “a senseless act of violence,” the shooter entered the mobile home and opened fire. Family friends and children were gathered inside the trailer, but no children were hurt in the shooting. Police say the suspected shooter was the boyfriend of one of the female guests at the party.
  • Gladis Bustos, who lives near where the shooting happened, described the night as quiet before the commotion happened. Bustos said the incident was “a bad, traumatic experience for everyone.” Another neighbor, Denise Knoll, was left speechless by the events. “There’s not really any words, you know? Why people do things like this, I just don’t get it,” said Knoll to NBC.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the Mother’s Day shooting “devastating,” offering his condolences to the victims’ families. Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement a shooting of this kind is something you hope never happens in your community and that the police department would do everything in its power to investigate what happened.
  • The tragic incident in Colorado Springs is the first mass shooting in the state since March. During that incident, ten people were killed when a gunman walked into a grocery store and opened fire. The 1999 shooting at Columbine High School remains one of the most notable mass shootings in the state and nation’s history.

The identities of those killed in the shooting have not yet been released, and the investigation is ongoing. Colorado Springs is the second-largest city in the state after Denver.

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