Rochester City Council demands money for mental health services, Mayor Warren responds

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester City Council is demanding a list of changes following Daniel Prude’s death in police custody, including city funding for mental health response services and Mayor Lovely Warren says she is going to do just that, and released various other steps she is taking to create change.

Prude had just been released from the hospital for mental health challenges prior to his encounter with police, and now concern is growing on how the Rochester Police Department respond to mental health calls.

MORE | Mental health experts: Prude needed help, not police

Rochester City Council sent a letter to the mayor with its demands:

  • requesting that the officers involved at the incident be placed on administrative leave
  • dropping charges filed against the protesters following Wednesday’s press conference
  • Support using funds from the $750,000 in Contingency set aside during the Budget process to better fund Monroe County’s Forensic Intervention Team (FIT).

“FIT partners with clinicians from the County’s Office of Mental Health to assist individuals struggling with mental health needs and to decrease the utilization of emergency and crisis response services in situations involving mental health,” the letter reads.

“It’s complimentary to our Rochester Police Department,” City Council Member Jose Peo said. “We still will have the Rochester police show up to 9-1-1 call but if it is a mental health issue we will make sure that FIT team takes the lead or whatever team it may be, takes the lead in it and make sure that we can deescalate and make sure the person gets the help.”

The request for more mental health services was addressed by Mayor Lovely Warren, who released her own changes to criminal justice. 

The Mayor say she will:

  • Immediately suspended all officers involved
  • Reprimand the RPD Chief La’Ron Singletary
  • Provided $300,000 to Monroe County FIT Team
  • Charge the RASE (Racial And Structural Equity) Commission to Develop and Recommend Long-Term Solutions for Response to Mental Health Calls

“No longer can we sweep these issues under the rug as it pertains to the criminal justice system as it pertains to health care as it pertains to mental health,” Warren said.

Mayor Warren also said she will seek to meet with the Prude family and local Black Lives Matter protesters to discuss Prude’s life and hear their desired policy changes.

City Council also wrote to New York State Attorney General Letitia James, asking her to come to Rochester to explain the process her office must take, to fully and independently investigate this case.

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