by Free the People Roc / Press Release
On March 23rd, 2020 the Rochester Police Department (RPD) executed a Black man named Daniel Prude. Mr. Prude was naked, unarmed, and experiencing a mental health crisis. Daniel’s brother Joe had called 911 for help. No one trained to respond to a mental health crisis arrived at the 400 Block of Jefferson Avenue — Rochester police did. Daniel complied with all orders by the police.
While cuffed, naked, and laying on the freezing cold ground, RPD officers mocked Daniel Prude and cracked jokes, and put a bag over his head. RPD officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Talladay, and Fransisco Santiago then proceeded to swarm him. While Taladay forced his knee into Daniel’s back and Santiago held down his legs, Vaughn pushed Daniel’s head into the ground using all of his body weight — essentially doing a triangle pushup on his head. Less than ten minutes after he was cuffed, Daniel Prude breathed his last conscious breath.
We are devastated by the loss of another Black life to the hands of police officers. We are disgusted that Mayor Lovely Warren, Chief La’Ron Singletary have made no effort to hold Daniel Prude’s murderers accountable. In fact, Daniel Prude’s killers are still on active duty. We are livid that Locust President Mike Mazzeo uses his resources to defend the murderers, yet just two days ago publicly said that Rochester “does not have the problems that other parts of the country have” in relation to police violence.
Knowing full well that RPD murdered a human being in need of help, Mayor Warren rewarded the police with a 100 million dollar budget and approved the building of a new 16 million dollar police station. It is abhorrent that Rochester has no capacity to respond to mental health crises in any way other than state-sanctioned force and coercion. There is no place for police, who are fundamentally violence workers, in responding to a mental health emergency.
To Lovely Warren, Loretta Scott, Willie Lightfoot, Mitch Gruber, Malik Evans, Jackie Ortiz, Mike Patterson, LaShay Harris, Jose Peo who have all voted for and supported spending on police violence at the expense of human life:Daniel Prude’s blood is on your hands.
Free The People Roc stands with Daniel’s family in making the following demands:
The Immediate termination and arrest of all officers involved, including Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, and Fransisco Santiago.
Immediately terminate all the officers who were at the scene and failed to intervene and save Daniel’s life: Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, Sgt. Michael Magri, Paul Ricotta, Lt. Gregory Bello
Immediately terminate the officers involved in the cover up: Sergeant Flamur Zenelovic, Investigator Randy Benjamin, and Investigator Michael Houlihan
The Mayor and City Council must pass legislation forbidding officers to respond to mental health calls. We must create an alternative to police for emergency response, staffed by Mental Health Professionals, trained in the use of clinical treatment techniques, and prohibited from using force.
Other cities have already implemented alternatives to police. We have no excuse.
This is an ongoing emergency. If we do not figure out a way to respond to these crises without police, we will continue endangering our neighbors and loved ones.
Additional demands will be posted shortly. #Justice4DanielPrude