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|Rapid Response Alert - Rochester, NY|
MOBB United for Social Change Demands Justice for Daniel Prude
Daniel Prude was suffering a mental health crisis on March 23 when his brother contacted the police for assistance. Seven officers responded and as a result of their brutality, when Daniel arrived at the hospital to which he was transported, he was brain dead and he passed away a week later. Police treated the death as an overdose and cleared all officers of wrongdoing despite an autopsy report which determined the death to be the result of complications of asphyxia. As in countless other cases, no proper investigation was undertaken until Daniel’s family released the officers’ bodycam footage showing what happened when the police arrived at the scene. In the video, Daniel is naked, kneeling, handcuffed, hooded by the police officers, and then further restrained face down until he is no longer breathing. In response to this information being made public, Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and the entire command staff stepped down from their posts, announcing their retirements. In addition, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office will set up a grand jury to investigate the case further.
Black men are three times more likely to be killed in an encounter with police officers than their white counterparts and people with mental illness are sixteen times more likely to be killed in such encounters, leaving Black families and communities in the tragic position of risking the lives of the very loved ones for whom they seek emergency assistance. It should be acknowledged that doctors, nurses, prison guards, and mental health counselors frequently encounter people behaving erratically and never have to rely on murder to address the situation.
As recently as May 23, Maurice Gordon, another Black man experiencing mental health problems, was shot six times and killed by a State Trooper in New Jersey while he was waiting on the side of the highway for a tow truck. Pervasive systemic racism leads law enforcement to regard Black men as more of a threat and to treat them with greater aggression and less humanity. Combined with lack of expertise in the management of mental health crises and gaps in the delivery of mental health services, this is all too often a lethal scenario, and indicates the need for a reallocation of funding in addition to reform measures.
Call To Action
The moms of MOBB United are aggrieved by the death of another son, Daniel Prude, and we demand the following:
In addition, we call on Rochester public officials, including Mayor Lovely Warren, to ensure that peaceful protestors are protected. One of MOBB United’s leaders attended a protest in Rochester to speak out on the death of Daniel Prude and was shocked by the absence of police presence to protect protestors along the way. Based on her personal account, police only met protestors at the end of the peaceful march, at which point they pelted rubber bullets at families made up of parents, children and elderly people without warning. Officers also sprayed the peaceful protestors with tear gas and brought out loud, barking dogs to scare them. This is shameful. Peaceful protesting is a first amendment right that must be protected to preserve civil society and our democracy.
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
M.O.B.B. United for Social Change, Inc. is a nationwide coalition of moms who are dedicated to making the world a safer place for Black boys and men by eradicating harassment, brutality and unwarranted use of deadly force by law enforcement and others against our sons. The group was born out of frustration over the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile in Minnesota and numerous other innocent Black boys and men killed by police before and after them. It has grown into a mobilized force of moms determined to make a difference. We aim to influence both policy and perception that impact how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement.