Spurred by the death of Daniel Prude in police custody and the state legislature in session, activists and lawmakers in Rochester are pushing to pass a new state law aimed at preventing similar situations in the future.
Free the People Roc, along with several lawmakers, launched Daniel's Law Advocacy Week.
"Daniel Prude and his family did not receive justice in the form of an indictment for the police officers who murdered him," said Ashley Gantt of Free the People Roc. "I personally feel a weight and responsibility to make sure we pass this legislation so that they receive some form of justice."
Gantt said that many have violent interactions with police while having a mental health crisis similar to Daniel Prude.
Stanley Martin explained that Daniel's Law would require mental health professionals to respond to mental health and substance abuse emergencies instead of police.
"We know that people are afraid of the police and their presence can escalate harm,” Martin said. “So just replacing with people in this community who are community health workers, peers of lived experience, people who understand what it's like to be in crisis, was part of the reason we decided, ‘let's what we can do to address this.’"
State Senator Samra Brouk is sponsoring the bill in the senate while Assemblyman Harry Bronson is pushing for it in the assembly.
The bill has the backing of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
"We can't allow another life to be taken, a family left heartbroken and a community left traumatized,” said Bronson. “We must make this change now."
It's also support of the Daniel Prude's family.
"Change has to come sooner or later and with this bill,” said Joe Prude, Daniel's brother. “I think that's a great step. So I look at like, we can't force feed nobody, but we got to continue to stand strong and help everybody understand that we are all out here for one another. It brings a great deal joy to my heart that this law is in the making."
Lawmakers are also hoping to pass the bill before the state legislative session ends in four weeks.
The events related to Daniel's Law Advocacy Week can be viewed below: