Rochester cop faces charges in Daniel Prude death

A Rochester cop was served with “departmental charges” in connection with the asphyxiation death of Daniel Prude, as internal investigators found that no additional action was needed against six other suspended officers involved in the March 2020 incident.

Officer Mark Vaughn, who was seen on body cam footage pushing Prude’s face against the pavement for more than two minutes, faced potential discipline for his role in the death, according to a statement from police, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported.

The statement reportedly did not reveal the nature of the charges against Vaughn, or indicate if he still served as an officer in the department.

“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,” the department reportedly wrote. “A formal hearing will be scheduled in the future.”

The move came on the final day disciplinary action could be taken under the police union contract, 18 months after Prude’s death, the paper said.

Rochester Officer Mark Vaughn is the only cop to internal discipline in the aftermath of Daniel Prude’s death.
Rochester Police via Roth and Roth LLP via AP, File

Rochester Police transferred The Post to a disabled extension when reached for confirmation Thursday night.

Prude, 41, was naked when he was restrained and placed in a spit hood by officers during a mental-health crisis. Vaughn was seen on body camera pushing Prude’s head into the pavement for 2 minutes, 15 seconds as he assumed a pushup position.

Daniel Prude
Rochester officer Mark Vaughn pushed Daniel Prude’s head on the ground for more than 2 minutes.
Courtesy Roth and Roth LLP via AP

Prude, who had smoked PCP, eventually stopped breathing, and medical officials ruled his death was a homicide at the hands of officers.

Seven cops on the scene that were caught on camera laughing at the naked man during the incident were suspended, and Chief Le’Ron Singletary was fired over his department’s handling of the situation.

A grand jury declined to press criminal charges against any of the officers involved in February, to the chagrin of Attorney General Letita James.

City lawyers have defended Vaughn’s restraint technique in a lawsuit filed by Prude’s family, saying cops were trained “to hold Mr. Prude’s head to the ground in order to stop Mr. Prude’s attempts to stand up.”

The release of body cam footage sparked weeks of violent confrontations between protestors and cops last year, as demonstrators around the country took to the streets to rebuke police violence against persons of color.