Family, friends gather for food giveaway on Daniel Prude’s birthday

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Friends and family of Daniel Prude gathered in Rochester on Wednesday for a food giveaway in honor of what would have been his 45th birthday.

Prude died in 2020 after an encounter with Rochester police during a mental health episode.

Daniel’s brother Joe said that giving back to the community is exactly what he would have wanted.

“Ya know basically, give back on his birthday to the community that supported him in the protests. We just giving things to all those who participated. Ya know, showing love right back to them,” Joe Prude said.

Daniel Prude was not breathing and had no pulse after he was restrained and handcuffed by Rochester police officers. He died in the hospital seven days later. The medical examiner ruled he died from complications of asphyxia due to physical restraint, excited delirium and PCP.

Since then, New York state Senator Samra Brouk has introduced Daniel’s Law, which has stalled in the Senate.

“It’s essentially a public health response to mental health and substance abuse crisis, because these are public health issues and we need the appropriate trained and licensed professionals to really show up and help folks through those moments of crisis,” Brouk said.

If passed, Daniel’s Law would establish mental health response units that are trained to deescalate mental health and substance abuse situations. Brouk said momentum is building behind the legislation and said she will advocate for its passage when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

In the meantime, Brouk said $1 million has been allocated in the budget for the creation of a 10-person task force.

“They are charged with gathering the information all over the country and statewide to look at what this crisis response looks like,” Brouk said.

It’s something Joe Prude said is a step in the right direction.

“Ya know it’s a stepping stone, so ya gotta take your time and stride with it,” Prude said.