Daniel Prude protest leaders, Free the People ROC: Proud of this community, must continue the fight

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) —  Protest occupation at city hall have been halted as protesters leaders plan the next step on fighting for justice for Daniel Prude — a fight they say they are winning.

Free the People Rochester leaders say they are winning the fight in bringing justice for Daniel Prude, but they are taking a break from nightly occupations, so the people who have been rallying every night can take care of their physical and mental health.

“I think one of the things I’m most proud of is this community coming together to rally around justice, and really become that voice and energy to push for change for everyone not just a few,” said Reenah Golden, founder of the Avenue Theatre, and organizer with Free the People Rochester.

For nearly three weeks protests have rallied through the city. Images of  encounters with police filled the first two nights of protests and leaders say they are trying to work with local media and make sure the message of the protest doesn’t get lost.

“Also, an expectation is that all aspects of that society, including the media, are helping to elevate voices that are not traditional heard,” said Golden.

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The group is celebrating recent developments including a new policy from the Attorney General’s office on releasing body cam footage and recent subpoenas issued for Mayor Warren and RPD chief Mark Simmons.

Protests have been going on for nearly three weeks and leaders recently stopped occupation at city but say the fight is not over.

“So we have done this. We brought awareness to a lot of issues that have actually resulted in change happening and ideas being heard on a number of levels and so this is not the time to be also draining everyone of the energy that is going to take to really continue this fight,” said Golden.

Protest leaders are planning more events, and still have a list of demands, including the prosecution of the officers involved in Daniel Prude’s encounter, and the passage of ‘Daniel’s Law’ to improve police response to mental health calls.

Prude, a 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, died after an encounter with Rochester police back in March, but news of the incident just came to light on September 2.

The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude a homicide. The report says Prude’s cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed that Prude also had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death, which could explain his erratic behavior.

MORE | WATCH: Footage of encounter between Daniel Prude and Rochester police officers before his death

Seven Rochester police officers have been suspended with pay in connection to the incident: Officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sgt. Michael Magri.

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