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Naked protesters in spit hoods demonstrate outside the PSB

provided photo
Protesters sit in front of the Public Safety Building on Monday morning.

Several naked, or near-naked protesters sat outside Rochester’s Public Safety Building early Monday morning. They were also wearing spit hoods, the kind of device that police put on Daniel Prude last March as they pinned him to the pavement on Jefferson Avenue. He lost consciousness and died a week later.

Officers originally were called to help Prude by his brother,  because he was having a mental health crisis. He had been seen running naked on Jefferson Avenue just before police restrained him on the roadway.

Along with the public display Monday morning, organizers also handed out a statement calling for statewide legislation including something they want to call “Daniel’s Law.”  According to City Councilmember Mary Lupien, that proposed law demands that police do not automatically respond to mental health calls.

“When police get on scene, they can agitate and escalate the situation, even sometimes just by being in uniform but also by the way that they approach the situation and because they’re untrained. And so, having someone who’s trained to deal with people who are struggling with mental health or behavioral health issues, increases the likelihood that it will have a positive outcome for the person involved,” Lupien said.

Another point in the platform released Monday would call for a statewide ban on police use of force against peaceful protesters. Lupien said that one reason the protest Sunday night in Rochester was peaceful, was due to the de-escalation of force by police.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.