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New York State's attorney general is investigating the March death of a Black man after video footage emerged this week of him being hooded by police and forced face down in a road.

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Daniel Prude's death became public after his family held a news conference Wednesday, as outrage mounts in the US over the police treatment of Black people across the country.

Prude, 41, died a week after being detained, but relatives and other activists have called for legal action against the officers involved.

"The Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit of my office is already actively investigating this incident," said a statement from Attorney General Letitia James.

"We will work tirelessly to provide the transparency and accountability that all our communities deserve."

'The man is defenseless'

Prude's brother told reporters he called police to take his brother into custody on March 23 after he suffered a mental health episode and had bolted, naked, outside the house.

“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched,” Prudes brother, Joe Prude, said at the news conference. “How did you see him and not directly say, The man is defenseless, buck naked on the ground. Hes cuffed up already. Come on. How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?"

The videos show a naked Prude complying when police ask him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Prude is agitated and shouting as he sits on the pavement in handcuffs for a few moments as a light snow falls. “Give me your gun, I need it,” he shouts.

The police officers then put a white “spit hood” over his head, a device intended to protect officers from a detainee's saliva. At the time, New York was in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prude immediately demands they remove the hood, videos show.

The officers slam Prude's head into the street and one officer, who is White, holds his head down against the pavement with both hands, saying “calm down” and “stop spitting”. Another officer places a knee on his back.

Prude then lost consciousness and officers tried to resuscitate him before he was taken to hospital. But he died a week later when life support was switched off.

Autopsy deems homicide caused by 'complications of asphyxia'

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