ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s been a week since body camera footage recorded in March and information surrounding Daniel Prude’s death became public.
Daniel’s brother, Joe Prude, sat down with News 8 Thursday for a wide-ranging interview to discuss what the past seven days have been like since he finally went public about his brother’s death.
Kayla Green: It’s been about a week now since everyone found out about what happened to your brother — how are you feeling?
Joe Prude: I’m still not feeling too good about the situation, but it’s … I’ll feel even better after these people come out and stand up and admit that they’re wrong, you know what I mean? So I know I have to be strong for my father, that’s the main point right now because he’s just getting over a stroke. And my sister, she’s alright a little bit, but I can see the pain in her eyes, you know what I’m saying? Me personally, this is a really big pill to swallow right here. I’m not gonna say ‘I’m gonna get back in order the way Joe used to be.’ No that’ll never be the same again. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
KG: All you can do. I know I asked you this last time, but it was probably about a week ago now, if you expected it to get this big and even since then it’s gotten even bigger — it’s gone national. What’s that experience been like for you?
JP: Exhausting, but it’s good it’s out there though because this type of behavior from public agents or however you want to call these Rochester police officers — this shouldn’t happen to nobody’s family. I don’t care what race, creed, color you are; this is something nobody’s family should have to endure. It’s like the more and more you continue to see this, it’s a pitfall for the justice system.
How can you sit here and say you all are out here to uplift the community and better society when you all are still letting police and any other public agent do what they want to do and tear it right back down? I don’t find that’s ethical and these hidden causes they’ve got to cover their tracks. I think that’s downright wrong. The way they’re carrying on about it, I’m just waiting for them to walk down their ass into that damn court building and be arraigned. That’s what I’m looking for, maybe then my heart at ease, but right now it’s like somebody snatched a whole line in. I don’t have the shape of a heart I just have a pulse. I’m just trying to digest this.
KG: Were you surprised by the news of the police chief retiring or resigning the other day?
JP: In a way, yeah, but now I know he’s hiding something. I don’t care what nobody says, I know he’s hiding something now. It speaks volumes right there when you, before anything else occurred and all and everything exploded in their face — now you have to speak on how and why you’re resigning and what brought forth that, because you all hid something?
You all hid something from the community, let alone you all hid it from my family. So, yeah, it’s not shocking, it’s just he made an ass out of himself. You said one thing, the mayor said one thing, the stories don’t add up, they don’t corroborate with each other. So, for the mayor to say one thing and you said this, anybody can tell they covered that up. Anybody.
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KG: The lawsuit talks a lot about that, I read through it, and with everything that’s gone on even just yesterday, the amount of back and forth that went on, what’s your reaction to that?
JP: I can’t really say that they’re making any type of progress. My reaction to that whole thing is like, when you have a person, no one dare cover by a certain union or representation of their legal field, the overall chief of them and the spokesperson, you know, if you look right between the line, talking that he called his self-doing, you’re telling a bold-faced lie to the whole damn community.
You basically let the whole community know you’re a damn disgrace, because if you would do this to one person how many people have you all done this to already? Let’s play in their field now to say okay let’s dig up a couple more past histories of this type of behaviors towards society and let’s see, and dig deeper: How many more of these things have these covered up? It’s a whole … there’s got to be a ton of them — my brother wasn’t the only one, I know he wasn’t. So, all we have to do now is see how they play down.
KG: Do you want the mayor to resign?
JP: Yes indeed.
KG: Kayla: What about Mike Mazzeo?
JP: Yes indeed, he’s gotta go too. They aren’t doing justice for anybody, they’re just like centerpieces, they’re just there. And when you sit down and orchestrate your little speech with your staff all of them there, ‘yeah say that Mike.’ No Mike, tell the truth Mike. Tell the truth Mayor Lovely. Tell the truth La’Ron Singletary. Bring forth the people who put their hands on my brother, what’s taking them so long?
KG: What else do you want to see here aside from those two things? La’Ron’s already retired, you want them to resign or step down, what else do you want?
JP: It’s a whole lot, the list is long but I can say one thing, that when a family member places a distress call to 911, they should have somebody other than a dispatcher accepting the calls. And when a person tells a person ‘I’m in need of some help for a family member’ that operator should have that person of a mental health status or whatever the case may be, present.
So, if the police is going out on that call they can go right out along with them. So this type of conduct never happens again. That’s all I want to see, that they do more better and stop hiding all this unjust behavior.
KG: The lawsuit also mentions that the officers involved are refusing to be interviewed for the Attorney General’s investigation, that’s what the lawsuit says. What are your thoughts on that?
JP: What are my thoughts? That shows you got something to hide. And if they didn’t have nothing to hid,e they would step out and correct themselves, you know you did wrong. If that was me, and I did that to a police, where are we gonna end up at? Seriously, let’s be real, I ain’t being hypothetical, I’m being forward and blunt.
If I would’ve done this to a police, and I’d have had representation, I would’ve told my lawyers ‘man that it doesn’t even make sense for you all to come to the courtroom because high and dry they’re gonna hang me’ and when I say hang me that’s 25 to life, I’m not gonna see my family ever again. So I think they deserve the same thing. This isn’t no one way street, what happened to equality? They’re not showing none of it. And they talk about integrity, how the hell is that integrity when you all are being dishonest to the community. You all are being dishonest to my family.
KG: Does it make you feel like them not being interviewed is slowing this process down for you too because you want justice brought?
JP: That too, but that’s an admission of guilt right then and there. It’s not like rocket science to figure that out. Stevie Wonder could see that, Ray Charles, whoever, all the blind men could see that. Just from them hearing it, they could see from the visual mindset — anybody could tell that’s an admission of guilt right then and there. You don’t want to talk, so you’re basically telling us you all did it and the hell were we thinking? So if they can continue to do that, what’s to say the next person isn’t gonna be out here laying in the street in the same distress and they commit the same heinous god damn act.
KG: So this city has been protesting for eight nights now, are you inspired by this movement?
JP: Yes I am. Yeah I am, because see it’s like the old saying, you got a lot of white people, you got a lot of black that are not racist. When you keep trying to drive a wedge through those people that are not like that, of course you’re gonna have turmoil here and there because a lot of people can’t come to their own conclusion or comprehend that man this is all a game. This is a game, this is their field and if we can’t understand that this is their field, we’re never gonna prosper.
We’re gonna keep regressing and that’s all I’m saying today just straight regress. Nothing coming forward for them sitting and hiding, not coming forward to saying nothing, to even acknowledge what they’ve done. That’s hurtful right there enough. Basically that’s a slap in my damn face because he died on my damn watch and I’m not, oh man, I’m not accepting that, I’m not. I can’t, it’s eating me alive to just see them hide. I couldn’t hide if I’d done that. They’d have drove me under the jail, they’d have made a prime example, they’d have whooped my ass first before they got me to the prison.
And the law system knows this. I’d have been cuffed up down there in booking, bruised up, cut up, busted up, broke up, but they’re getting a walk in the park. Suspended with pay? That’s a damn vacation. My family isn’t getting a damn vacation, all we’ve got is heartache and pain right now. So why the hell did they get a paid f******* vacation? I’m not accepting that, I’m not.
KG: What do you want people to know who are out there protesting and calling for justice with you? What do you want them to know about how you’re feeling and where we go from here?
JP: They probably already know how I feel, you know because I’ve made my presence known and I take my family home. I salute them for what they’re doing because they’re not doing nothing wrong. And in my eyes, from day one, they weren’t doing anything wrong. I literally can say every time, the way the officers reacted the way they did to the protesters — I was present, but I was looking from a distance and not one protester advanced on them.
Like, I sat here the other day and spoke to them and I said we can sit here and not be shook up and scared of one another. We’re side by side with each other, elbow to elbow. If you can sit there and tell that person next to you out of the goodness of your heart that you love them for being a human being, I’m all power with that. But if you can’t stand up and tell my family why you did that to my brother I totally am not, I damn sure … I just can’t get it. I don’t agree with what they’re doing. I don’t like that behavior and I’m not tolerating that anymore for them hiding in this secluded, being protected and how can I say that? They’re on a paid vacation. They’re being protected in their fortresses, in their homes. What about my family? Is this gonna erase the pain because they’re hiding? No, this is just making us more angry.
KG: You said your family came into town today?
JP: Yes indeed.
KG: And how has that been with everyone here?
It’s bone crushing because I can see the hurt in my father’s face because that was his birthday present, they both were born on the same day. Every time I look in my father’s eyes, all I see is my brother, but I also see the pain and the agony in his eyes, so it’s killing me to watch my father hurt like that.
He isn’t supposed to be burying his children, we’re supposed to wait until he gets old and his time is up, we’re supposed to be burying him. God damn sure didn’t think my father would experience that a family member died by the hands of a law enforcement officer. Not in the 44 years of my life did I ever wish that ever come across my visual, that’s something I ain’t thought I’d ever see, But they proved me wrong. It’s here. It’s true. This is real, this is not a dream.
KG: I asked you a little bit last week about growing up with Daniel, but I’d love if you could tell me a little bit more about him for people who didn’t know him.
JP: I explained it in depth the other day at the Public Safety Building, you’ve got an individual that was basically my hipbone. We should’ve been twins, but I’m the oldest, I’m the big brother so it was a real … he was a real competitive guy. He was a really lovable individual. It’s like everything Daniel did, Daniel did it for a reason or a purpose. Daniel never committed violence to nobody, he was a hell of a comedian. It’s like, the more and more I try to reminisce about what was good about him.
The wheels popping on the bike, getting mad I crossed him over on the basketball court, run me down in football because I couldn’t catch it. But overall, my mama raised a hell of a son and I know I’m living proof of one because if I wasn’t a hell of a son I wouldn’t have the balls enough to be talking about this, I’d be broke up and bent up somewhere right now trying to ‘boo-hoo’ and ‘woo-hoo’ behind it what they’ve done. But no, my brother gave you the shirt off his back and if you were out here and you were hungry and he didn’t have anything to give to you, guarantee he’d go up to somebody and sweet talk them to try to get you some food, that’s just the type of person, he was real charismatic. Have to admit, the ladies loved him, I swear to God. I’m gonna miss all that. I really am, nothing’s going to change that, not nothing until they step their ass up and be held accountable for their actions.
KG: Do you have a favorite memory of him?
JP: Me, him, and my other brother were playing football against somebody else, and you know when you’re being competitive with people you talk your crap, and he talked it so much that the guys wanted to fight us. And I’m the big brother so I got to intervene in that. You’re mad because he’s fast like Joe Lewis and Lil’ Joe Morris and Walter Peyton — so you got an individual like that and he’s talking while he’s running. You couldn’t do nothing, but be mad at him, he isn’t on your team, so of course.
He always told me man, ‘you know I didn’t want to be like you I wanted to be better than you.’ I used to smile at that because that’s what I always told him. Don’t try to be like me, be better than me because what I’m doing out here, I don’t need you to be doing, and what you’re doing I’m damn not sure gonna do. So filling his shoes is going to be hard. I don’t think there’s another person on this earth that’s going to be able to walk what he walked, talked how he talked, laughed how he laughed. No, there’ll never be another Daniel. There will never be.
KG: That’s all I have, did you want to add anything else?
JP: No, I just want people to come on out and be prosecuted like they’re supposed to be. Be held accountable. I want that now, I’m tired of waiting now. That’s basically the bottom line. What’s the wait?
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- Community Justice Initiative: ‘Saturday night was a war zone, RPD did not let up at all’
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