City of Rochester settles Daniel Prude case for $12 million

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Joe Prude, the brother of Daniel Prude, announced plans to sue the city for his brother's death outside City Hall on Sept. 2, 2020, the day Prude's fatal arrest become public knowledge. (Credit: Max Schulte)

(CITY News) – The City of Rochester has agreed to pay $12 million to the estate of Daniel Prude, whose fatal arrest by Rochester police in March 2020 touched off protests locally and nationwide, to settle a lawsuit over his death.

The agreement, announced by Mayor Malik Evans in a prepared statement on Thursday, ends two years of litigation amid a tenuous relationship between city government and the community at large.

“Given the costs of continued litigation, this settlement was the best decision,” Evans said. “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.”

Half of the amount is earmarked for “pain and suffering” and half for “wrongful death,” according to a copy of the settlement field in federal court. Under the terms of the settlement, $4 million will go toward fees for the attorneys representing the Prude estate.

In settling, the city admitted no liability and did not pay punitive damages.

Prude’s arrest on March 23, 2020, and subsequent death a week later did not become public knowledge until Sept. 2 of that year, when attorneys representing relatives of Prude released video footage of the arrest taken from police body-worn cameras and announced plans to sue the city.

The announcement came on the heels of a tumultuous summer of protests nationwide and in Rochester over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Word of Prude death, which bore similarities to the Floyd case, immediately sparked protests anew here and around the country.

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