ROCHESTER, NY – Two years after Daniel Prude’s death, his family is still fighting for justice. The Prude family is pushing for “Daniel’s Law” to be passed into legislation. Community members and some heads of state support them.
“I can’t give up, I can’t give up hope for my brother, everyone is taking the time to show their support for my family, it’s an honor,” said Joe Prude at a Free the People Roc event over the weekend .
Daniel’s Law is a push to stop police officers from being the first responders to mental health calls and substance abuse crises. It would allow mental health professionals, colleagues and paramedics to be first responders to mental health calls instead of the police.
Joe Prude said he thinks the groups Rochester has that respond to mental health calls, like the Persons In Crisis Team, or “PIC,” team, are doing their best, but more people need to get involved, if or when the bill goes.
“The PIC team did what they could, but there aren’t enough people. Not that qualified but willing to do the job because some people might be shy,” Joe said.
Two years ago, Daniel Prude died in police custody while experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental health was the topic of conversation during an event at Jefferson Avenue and McCree Way.
“Across the community, across the state, people understand what it means to have proper mental health care. Daniel’s law will end the criminalization of mental illness and support communities by providing them with care,” Rochester City Councilman Stanley Martin told News10BC.
The bill’s co-sponsors, Senator Harry Bronson and Senator Samra Brouke, also attended the event. Brouke is the chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee.
“As the mental health chair, I get these stories all the time that right now, across our state, people are losing their lives because they’re going through a mental health crisis, and we don’t have the right people to come up with for them,” Brouke said.
Bronson says the law enforcement agencies he spoke to support Daniel’s Law, recognizing that officers may not be trained to handle every call they go to.
“Law enforcement understands they cannot provide the compassion and care, they need help. We need to find the right language so that we can implement it, and it can really work in practice,” Bronson added.
The bill is currently in committee and new amendments will be introduced in January. The hope is to pass the law in 2023. Today’s event is part of the “Nationwide Days of Action”, which runs today until April 20th. Buffalo, Brooklyn and Albany also host events.