Trigger warning

This evening I witnessed the ROCHESTER, NY police department open fire on what was a peaceful protest following the murder and cover up of Daniel Prude. At the front of the line was a group of elected officials who sought to be the unifying tie to ensure everyone remained safe and that police and protestors did not overstep their boundaries together and remained peaceful. The police, complete with attack dogs on hand reminiscent of racism in the 60s, shot from the back of their line at the clearly marked press, then the peaceful protestors while simultaneously shooting the elected officials in the head with pepper spray cans and "non lethal" rounds.Only then did some protestors engage. I watched in horror as the people who swore to protect us did this to my fellow citizens.

Why do I share this tonight? Because as someone with mental illnesses, the fact that this all began because a psychiatric emergency department failed to do their job is how this began. Daniel's brother called 911 earlier the same evening he was murdered because he didn't know what to do and needed medical help for his brother who was experiencing a mental health crisis. The police are the ones who showed up. Daniel ended up eventually being taken by ambulance to UR Medicine Strong Memorial Hospital. Once there he was given care for the episode he was in. Despite his family saying they didn't believe he was safe to leave they discharged him back to the family. They did not prescribe any medications, or anything. Nothing.
A few hours later Daniel entered another episode in which he stripped off his clothes and began running and fled outside the house. His brother frantically called 911 for help fearing for his brothers safety and wellbeing. Again the police show up. This time they take a man they already know is having a mental health crisis, they throw him to the ground while nude, they taunt him, put a hood over his head and kneel on his neck while laughing and carrying on. They take his limp body and put him into the ambulance and take him to strong where he is barely holding onto life and eventually succumbs.

This mental health crisis is not something new or out of the ordinary. It is a standard crisis seen in any area of health care let alone in society. The fact that a man died because his family did the right thing that every resource says and called for help is heinous. What does this say to every other person out there? What does this say in particular to black citizens out there? Even when they need help they have to stop and think of wether or not they will get it or die! They have to stop and considder wether an ambulance or a hearse with a gunman is going to show up and hurt them while they're already hurting. I am so heart broken. I am so offended. And I am so angry. I barely have enough words here to even describe this. #blacklivesmatter #DanielPrude #Rochester #MentalHealth #HealthCare #Trauma #justice #violence