biographical data

Mark Vaughn biography: 13 things about Rochester, New York cop who held Daniel Prude’s head down

Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn

Mark T. Vaughn is a police officer from Rochester, Monroe County, New York, United States. He was one of the seven Rochester Police Department officers suspended due to their involvement in the death of Daniel Prude, an African-American man from Chicago, Illinois, USA, amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.

Suffering from mental health issues, Prude was in the custody of Vaughn and his fellow Rochester Police Department officers Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris and Sergeant Michael Magri on March 23, 2020. Prude was having an acute, manic, psychotic episode that day so his older brother Joe D. Prude called the police for help.

With both hands and his full body weight, Vaughn pushed the side of Daniel’s head into the pavement, which was similar to a triangle push-up. In the report the cop wrote of the incident, he claimed that he had “segmented” Daniel’s head and he used a hypoglossal nerve technique, which involves jamming fingers into a nerve below the jaw to cause pain and persuade a subject to comply.

“My man, you puking?” Vaughn asked Daniel. “Ah, man. Do you see all that water coming out? It’s just straight water.”

Noticing that Daniel did not have chest compressions at 3:22 a.m. on March 23, 2020, Vaughn instructed his fellow cops to roll the prone man. Vaughn took his hands off Daniel’s head, tapped him and asked, “You good, man?”

Daniel became unresponsive and was sent to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester where he was taken off life support on March 30, 2020. Here are 13 things about Vaughn:

  1. He is a resident of Spencerport, Monroe County.
  2. He previously lived in Rochester.
  3. He attended Spencerport High School where he participated in cross country and basketball.
  4. In 2005, he was one of the Spencerport High School students who helped their Demon Drill Team capture first place at the National Cadet Competition in Washington, D.C., USA, Westside News NY reported.
  5. His mother Kathy S. Vaughn is a Demon Drill Team veteran.
  6. He and Harris were among the four Rochester Police Department officers who assisted Rochester police investigators Scott Ferro and Andy Mackenzie in arresting Phoenix Coley and Brandon Quaresimo on May 11, 2013. The arrestees were charged for their 7-11 convenience store robberies on December 4 and 5, 2012.
  7. His annual wage was $68,724 in 2015, $79,053 in 2016, $83,950 in 2017 and $89,031 in 2018.
  8. He was 32 years old when he was involved in Daniel’s arrest on March 23, 2020. That day, he stopped Daniel by pointing a Taser at him before ordering him to lay on the ground and put his hands behind his back. He handcuffed Daniel while the latter was lying on his stomach. After handcuffing Daniel, he returned to his squad car and used hand sanitizer on his gloved hands. While walking back to Daniel, he said, “That was easy and fast.” He asked Daniel, “Sir, you don’t got AIDS, do you?” He told Daniel to “calm down” and “stop spitting.” He pulled one spit hood out of his pocket and put it over Daniel’s head after the latter repeatedly spat on the ground. He and Taladay pinned Daniel down. The prone man begged the two cops to get off him. After pushing down Daniel’s head for 2 minutes 15 seconds, he let up and asked the prone man, “You good now?” When Daniel did not answer him, he resumed pushing with one hand for 45 more seconds. He walked back to his squad car to get more hand sanitizer while the two emergency medical technicians at the scene were performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Daniel.
  9. Both he and Taladay weighed approximately 180–200 pounds.
  10. On April 13, 2020, investigators Michael Houlihan and Randy Benjamin interviewed him. The investigators concluded that his account was consistent with the body-worn camera footage as well as the copies of the incident report that he filed in connection with Daniel’s arrest and his subject resistance report.
  11. On September 3, 2020, Rochester mayor Lovely Warren announced that Vaughn, Taladay, Ricotta, Santiago, Specksgoor, Harris and Magri were suspended with pay.
  12. The City of Rochester’s Office of Public Integrity released a report on December 15, 2020 to clear him, Ricotta, Taladay, Santiago, Harris, Speckgoor and Magri of any potential wrongdoing in connection to Daniel’s death.
  13. A grand jury voted not to indict him, Ricotta, Taladay, Santiago, Specksgoor, Harris and Magri in Daniel’s death. On February 23, 2021, New York attorney general Letitia James explained, “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. 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.”

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