In response to reports earlier this week of a result in grand jury proceedings in the death of Daniel Prude, Hillside President & CEO Maria Cristalli shared the message below with staff:
Eleven months ago, Rochester Police Department officers responded to a call involving a man experiencing a mental health crisis named Daniel Prude. One week later, he died after being hospitalized as a result of what occurred during that call.
Yesterday, a grand jury chose not to indict any of the officers involved in that incident. I know I’m not alone in my heartbreak and frustration over this news.
In Rochester and around the country, stories have become staggeringly common of people of color who face terrible and disproportionate outcomes following police interventions. A few nights ago, a young Black man in Texas was arrested while simply walking home from work. And of course, just last month a 9-year-old Rochester girl was pepper-sprayed by police during another non-violent call for assistance.
Protests in Rochester re-emerged last night in response to the grand jury’s decision. Thankfully the protests were peaceful, but they nonetheless reflected a community’s pain, and a need for accountability that remains out of reach.
We can’t bring Daniel Prude back, or erase the trauma experienced by that 9-year-old girl. But we can fight back against the systemic racism that makes these acts possible. Hillside will continue to advocate with local and state authorities for structural change in how mental health services are integrated into police response protocols. And within the Hillside community, it’s inspiring to see the consistently strong—and growing—engagement among so many of you concerning these issues.
I implore you: Stay engaged. Keep talking. Do not lose hope. We can make a difference, together.
President & CEO