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US: Police will not face charges in Daniel Prude’s death | Courts News

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Grand jury votes not to indict police officers involved in arrest and suffocation death of 41-year-old man in Rochester, New York.

The police officers involved in the arrest and death from asphyxiation of an unarmed Black man in the US state of New York last year will not face criminal charges, the state’s attorney general announced on Tuesday.

A grand jury voted not to indict any officer involved in the death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude, who died after police put a spit hood over his head and held him down during an arrest in Rochester, the state’s third-largest city, in March.

Prude’s arrest – which was captured on police body cameras – sparked outrage across the United States, which saw widespread protests last year demanding racial justice and an end to systemic police violence against Black people.

“Daniel Prude was in the throes of a mental health crisis and what he needed was compassion, care and help from trained professionals. Tragically, he received none of those things,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We concluded that there was sufficient evidence surrounding Mr Prude’s death to warrant presenting the case to a grand jury, and we presented the most comprehensive case possible,” James said.

“While I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community and communities across the country will rightfully be devastated and disappointed, we have to respect this decision.”

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren also said the grand jury decision “is hard for many of us to understand” but called on the community to “work towards changing policies and procedures to correct the inequities in the system”, according to a statement shared by local media.

Seven police officers who were involved in Prude’s arrest were suspended in September.

Police body camera footage showing Prude lying on the ground naked, handcuffed and surrounded by police officers, was released after his family obtained it through a freedom of information request.

His family said the father of five had been struggling with mental health issues when the family called the police for help after he ran into the street and took off his clothes.

People held demonstrations in Rochester in September to demand justice for Daniel Prude [File: Maranie R Staab/AFP]

The video showed officers who arrived at the scene putting a hood over his head and telling him to “stop spitting”. Prude’s face was pressed into the ground with the hood on.

His voice became muffled and minutes later he was silent. Prude died seven days later, on March 30, after he was taken off life support.

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

The release of the video images raised questions of a possible cover-up and turned Rochester into a flashpoint in a summer of protests over racial injustice and policing in the US that were first sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

Warren, the mayor, fired Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and suspended two city officials over the incident.

Local civil rights groups had called for the officers involved to be fired and prosecuted, however. In September, they held several consecutive nights of protests to demand justice and accountability for Prude’s death.

Rochester police have said they are conducting internal and criminal investigations.

Warren said the city’s new police chief is expected to announce orders and procedures to implement policing reforms soon.

“The current laws on deadly force have created a system that utterly and abjectly failed Mr Prude and so many others before him,” said James, the attorney general. “Serious reform is needed, not only at the Rochester Police Department, but to our criminal justice system as a whole.”



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US debt projected to balloon to more than double GDP by 2051 | Debt News

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The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office warned that by 2051, the United States’ debt will skyrocket to 202 percent of its gross domestic product, up from 102 percent this year.

The U.S. federal debt will grow to more than double the size of the economy in three decades, increasing the risk of a fiscal crisis even though dangers appear low in the near term, the Congressional Budget Office said.

Debt will be equivalent to 202% of gross domestic product by 2051 from 102% this year, the nonpartisan arm of the legislature said Thursday in its long-term budget outlook. Its projection for 195% in 2050 was unchanged from the prior report, whose forecasts ran through that year.

Net interest payments on the debt are expected to remain relatively low for the next decade, then rise rapidly over the following 20 years, the CBO said. The agency projects 10-year Treasury yield, after inflation, at 2.6% in 2050. The nominal yield was at 1.54%, near the highest in more than a year, on Thursday.

The CBO also said that the two Social Security trust funds, for seniors and people with disabilities, will be exhausted later than the agency projected last year.

The report — which doesn’t reflect the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan currently working its way through Congress — follows the selloff in Treasuries over the past week that sent yields spiking. Investors are gaining more confidence that rates will move up, with U.S. growth and the labor market set for a stronger-than-expected uptick as vaccines roll out and states lift restrictions.

The CBO outlook’s debt projections will likely underpin already-firm opposition by Republicans to the relief plan, and could also concern some Democratic lawmakers as President Joe Biden prepares a followup multitrillion-dollar plan to build infrastructure and boost the economy in other ways.

“The risk of a fiscal crisis appears to be low in the short run despite the higher deficits and debt stemming from the pandemic,” the CBO said in the report. “Nonetheless, the much higher debt over time would raise the risk of a fiscal crisis in the years ahead.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that the U.S. economy still has a long way to go before the central bank considers tightening, and underscored that the low-inflation world of the past several decades is unlikely to change.



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