ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — More than two years after Daniel Prude’s death, the City of Rochester has come to a settlement agreement with his estate.

Mayor Malik Evans announced the city’s settlement Thursday. Under this agreement, the city will pay the estate a total of $12 million, which the mayor said was “the best decision.”

“Given the costs of continued litigation, this settlement was the best decision. It would have cost taxpayers even more to litigate, and would have placed a painful toll on our community. It is now time to look forward so we may work together and focus our efforts on Rochester’s future.”

— Rochester Mayor Malik Evans

According to court documents, half of the settlement will go toward “damages for conscious pain and suffering,” while the other half will be used for “pecuniary injuries to five children, their heirs, resulting from Prude’s death.”

One of Prude’s five children, Nathanial McFarland, says in the paperwork this was a ‘wrongful death.’

He said that night in March, Daniel’s brother Joe called police, out of concern, when Daniel “abruptly left the house, early in the morning. Naked, no shoes, no coat, in freezing cold. McFarland writes Prude was suffering an ‘acute mental health crisis.'”

News 8 reached out to Daniel’s brother, Joe Prude, who said he is not receiving any money from the settlement, but is otherwise “happy for the settlement and [Daniel’s kids.]”     

Joe’s legal team [Elliot Shields] stated “no amount of money can bring back Daniel Prude and issued the following statement Thursday:

We are happy that the money will compensate Daniel Prude’s children for this tragedy. But this monetary settlement does not include the systemic reforms that are necessary to end the decades-long pattern of police violence against Black men in Rochester, which is what caused Daniel Prude’s death. There is still much work to be done.

We are pursuing those systemic reforms in the class action lawsuit against the City of Rochester, known as Hall v. Warren.”

The 41-year-old Black man from Chicago died after an encounter with Rochester police in March 2020. The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude a homicide.

The report says Prude’s cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed that Prude also had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death, which could explain his erratic behavior.

Matthew Piers is the lead lawyer for the estate. He told News 8 that it’s hard to talk about, and even harder to watch. “Instead of giving him help, they abused him,” he said.

McFarland says in the paperwork, the death caused pain and suffering. He says Prude was, ‘clearly disoriented, and unarmed.’

“The complete lack of explanation for increasing use of force on somebody who was clearly in need of help,” Piers said.

Mayor Evans says they’re still working to heal relationships with the community. “Everything is a work in progress, a continuation to get better, you see the investments we made in mental health, the investments in body cameras and other things,” Evans said.

According to court paperwork, the city denies all liability.

“It means they are not admitting they broke the law,” said Piers.

In the meantime, local lawmakers like Senator Samra Brouk, are working to pass a bill that can allow mental health professionals to respond in these kinds of situations.

The family of Daniel Prude originally filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city in September 2020. This filing was later replaced with a new filing in March 2020 to include his five children.

The amended complaint charges that both the actions of the Rochester police as well as the subsequent attempted cover-up by the police and city government of Rochester “constitute violations of Mr. Prude’s constitutional and common law rights.”

Prude’s family lawyer said that under the law, the proper recipients of any recovery by his estate are his children and only his children.

Full Settlement Document


Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.