ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Hundreds of community leaders, friends, family and supporters all across New York State gathered Saturday for ‘Daniel’s Day,’ in honor and celebration of Daniel Prude.
Prude was experiencing a mental health crisis when he was physically restrained by Rochester police and stopped breathing in March of 2020. He died 7 days later in the hospital.
Prude’s family comes together every year around his birthday to keep advocating for how they feel mental health crises should be handled by first responders.
“Each year, we want to celebrate the life and memory of Daniel Prude by making sure that we raise awareness about what happened to him,” Stanley Martin, the co-founder of Free the People says.
They also keep fighting for the passage of ‘Daniel’s Law,’ which would change the way New York responds to mental health emergencies. It’s something Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother, says will make an impact.
“With that in place and if they pass it, we’ll never have to see another tragedy again,” Joe says.
If passed, state officials say Daniel’s Law would change how mental health crisis calls are managed by sending trained experts in the field to be the primary responders.
Samra Brouk, New York State Senator for the 55th District says, “Like social workers, like crisis counselors, peer advocates, people who have had experience with mental health crises and substance use.”
Joe Prude says if this was in place when Daniel was going through his own mental health crisis, he would still be here today.
“He’d still be alive,” he says. “That’s for sure. He would still be alive. They would have been able to know the proper training to give him at that moment and particular time.”
While people keep fighting for the passage of the law, Joe says he knows his brother is proud of what’s being done.
“Yeah, he’s smiling down on all of us right now because he knows for a fact that what we’re doing right now is right,” Joe says. “We’re going to continue to do what’s right.”
The law has yet to be passed, but a task force was created earlier this year under the State’s office of mental health.