ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Members of Daniel Prude’s family and other organizations against police brutality came together in Rochester tonight for a vigil to honor Tyre Nichols, while also calling for changes in police training, tactics, and funding.
The gathering took place at MLK Park where Daniel Prude’s older brother Joe and other activists gave passionate speeches about the impact cases like Tyre Nichols, and Daniel Prude’s leave on them. Linking the two instances together and the reform they want to see.
After deciding to watch the Memphis Police Body Cam footage themselves, Joe Prude and his wife Valerie shared the encounter brought back painful memories of Daniel Prude who died in 2020 after an encounter with Rochester Police.
“Too many, it’s like we’re living in a dream,” Daniel’s older brother Joe Prude said. “It did, our brother was naked in the winter with a spit bag on his head for no damn reason,” Valerie Prude added. “A lot of that brought back memories.”
In the case of Tyre Nichols, they believe it shows police training and tactics need to change to stop the brutality.
“This needs to stop, it really does because this wasn’t about race or color,” Joe told us. “It’s about police brutality. They got a badge to kill, and they shouldn’t be that way and they’re used to getting away with it. My heart goes out to that man’s family.”
His wife Valerie added. “Our family has been through this for the past two and a half years and we’re tired. We’ve seen more than enough police brutality.”
After holding a moment of silence for Tyre Nichols, City Councilmember Stanley Martin who also leads Free the People Roc argued Rochester should redistribute funds from RPD’s budget to other areas of the city.
“We have police receiving $100 million, yet there is so much violence in our community,” Councilmember Martin said. “We have police receiving $100 million and yet people are still being shot outside of schools. Enough is enough, we are asking for investments within our community and not police.”
The vigil was diverse in turnout. Martin said she’s tired of having to hold events like these but is determined to change the image of how society portrays people like her.
“It’s just so devastating and dehumanizing,” Councilmember Martin argued. “At some point, I want to be seen, I want people who look like me to be seen for who we are and not a threat. People who are kind, loving, peaceful.”
Community Justice Initiative and the Rochester NY Black Agenda Group also took part in hosting this vigil. After their speeches, people who claimed to be personally impacted by police brutality also spoke out to demand change.