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Protesters occupy Rochester City Hall calling for officials to meet demands

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News
Joe Prude, Daniel Prude's brother, stands with members of Free the People Roc outside of City Hall on Tuesday.

Protesters occupied the outside of City Hall from morning into the night on Tuesday calling for justice for Daniel Prude.

In March, Prude was having a mental health crisis when his brother called 911. Officers pinned him to the ground and he suffocated. He died a week later.

Daniel’s brother Joe Prude, who made the 911 call, says that he’s tired of waiting for the officers who arrested and restrained his brother to be arrested and fired.

“Everybody knew there was an elaborate cover up,” said Prude. “There’s no more further things that they can possibly tell us. Now all we want them to do is to tell us one thing, when are they going to go and apprehend the people that murdered my brother, that’s all the hell I want to know.”

Organizers said they are not leaving City Hall until all their demands are met. That includes the passing of Daniel’s Law, which would bar police from responding to mental health crisis calls.

Stanley Martin with Free the People Roc said that the mayor’s eight-point plan isn’t enough, and that City Council did not consult the public about funding for how to respond to mental health crises.

“We find that laughable and in fact disrespectful,” Martin said. “To give the police substation around $16 million and turn around and give the people $300,000 for a 24/7 response to mental health crises is continuing to set the community up to fail.”

Martin said they also want the newly appointed interim police chief Mark Simmons to be removed. Simmons has previously come under fire for shooting a teenager during a mental health crisis call in 2005.

“A man who shot a 13 year old child whose mother called for help three times. Shot her three times, and that’s who’s supposed to be our next interim chief,” she said.

Protests have been ongoing since news broke of Prude’s death after the family’s attorney requested body camera footage in a Freedom of Information Law request

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.