One year after Daniel Prude’s death, has mental health care for people of color changed?

April 01, 2021

Originally published in WXXI on March 31, 2021.

Black Lives Matter activists gather at Parcel 5 before marching through the streets of Rochester on March 23 to mark the one-year anniversary of Daniel Prude's fatal encounter with city police. CREDIT MAX SCHULTE | WXXI NEWS

It's been a year since Daniel Prude died after Rochester police officers restrained him during a mental health arrest. He had been rendered brain-dead during the March 23 arrest and was taken off life support a week later. 

What happened to Prude reignited an already active movement for racial justice, this time focusing on mental health and policing. 

Some police officers receive crisis intervention team, or CIT, training. It's a program that’s been in place since 2004. 

But former city police chief Cedric Alexander, who is now a psychologist and a consultant, said he believes that police in general are ill-equipped to answer mental health calls. 

“It is a check-the-box program because if it was anything more than that, we would not see incidents that end up the way we do, such as with Daniel Prude,” Alexander said.