Rochester Case Raises New Questions About Police Abuse and “Spit Hoods”

Screen Shot 2020-09-04 at 9.13.44 AMIn the criminal justice system, most of us have seen the use of “spit hoods” when a suspect or defendant spits at officers or others.  During the pandemic, such behavior is viewed as particularly dangerous. However, for years, the hoods have been associated with breathing and medical issues. The death of Daniel Prude in Rochester is spotlighting this controversy after a shocking video of a group of officers laughing as Prude, who was running nude in the area, complained about his breathing. He died on March 30 after being taken off life support.

Prude, who is black, is seen in a videotape sitting naked on the street as officers laugh at the scene on March 30th. One officer is shown pressing Prude’s face into the asphalt. While at points compliant, Prude is also shown shouting and at one point asking for an officer’s gun. He is obviously mentally unstable.  He asks for the hood to be removed at one point but officers respond by telling him to “calm down” and “stop spitting.” Prude sounds increasingly in distress and says that the officers are trying to kill him.

Here is another video angle:


A medical examiner concluded that Prude’s death was a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”

As with the death of George Floyd, the officers’ lawyers are likely to point to a finding that lists excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP, as listed contributing factors.

However, as I previously noted with the George Floyd case, officers have to anticipate such complications from drug use in conducting arrests and must respond to clear medical emergencies.

In addition to the police abuse allegations in the Prude case, there needs to be greater attention to the use of these hoods and the impact on the breathing of suspects. A spitting suspect is the most likely to have drugs in their systems that might affect breathing. It is not simply the material used in the hoods but the protocols used by police that have to be addressed after this terrible case.

125 thoughts on “Rochester Case Raises New Questions About Police Abuse and “Spit Hoods””

  1. Anyone hopped up on PCP behaves psychoticallyand being spit at and infected with a deadly viral disease is a very real threat, so to say that using that Spit hood was unwarranted is total nonsense, what was that PCP junkie doing running around free any way should have been in prison where PCP junkies belong, but I forget we are speaking of a Communist controlled state.

  2. VP Joe Biden reportedly had #metoo problems when he was in office. Among other things there was an allegation he grabbed the breast of the wife of one of the Secret Service agents at a function.

    Judicial Watch has apparently uncovered some documentation to support that allegation:

    From hair salon service to blackface to rape the Democrats seem to live by separate rules–or no rules at all.

    The Lieutenant Governor of Virginia has been accused of rape. Apparently BELIEVE THE WOMEN is no longer in force.

    The Governor of Virginia has been photographed in blackface. What was a high crime isn’t even a misdemeanor when it comes to Democrats.

    And then there are the Democrat politicos who get their hair done or who dine in restaurants closed to the rest of us.

    What an array of nasty people.

  3. It does not matter if a criminal has a gun, fully loaded, pointed directly at a police officer after shooting another person and they shoot the criminal, in our environment today, the left will blame the officer, gather in their city and burn down buildings to show their disagreement.

    That is life in America today promoted by the liberal press since they call those “peaceful demonstrations”

    Anyone at this site want to be a cop under the current environment?

  4. Is the face hood “ventilated”? If so does it impede breathing?
    Why did they take him off “life support” all those days later?

    1. Spit hoods are made of breathable mesh. Even though it’s just mesh, if someone was in severe respiratory distress such as, say, from PCP, every little thread reduces already diminishing airflow. Plus there is any struggle the naked, delirious man might engage in.

      I am unaware of any other option than a spit hood to protect law enforcement. If a police officer used a face shield, the drug addict could still spit on the back of their heads, their hands, and the rest of their body. The spit could still spatter. The only way to contain spit is at its source.

      As for why someone would be taken off life support, often that is because of brain death.

      1. If hoods do this, what do masks do?. (I speak as someone with asthma whom masks make extremely uncomfortable.)

  5. For over a couple decades I investigated restraint situations at juvenile detention/treatment residential facilities. Restraining youth/adults face down should only be done for less than a minute, then turned over on back. Especially if any amount of pressure is applied to the neck and back while face down, severe breathing problems rapidly can occur.

    The problem in this case in my opinion is the length of time face down with police holding this mentally/drugged individual….not the face hood that is ventilated

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