Police Are Not the Answer to Mental Health Crises

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New York must fundamentally transform the role of policing in our state – and we must start by ending our over-reliance on police as first responders in every crisis. When our friends, neighbors, or community members are experiencing a mental health crisis, they deserve to be treated with compassion, care, and understanding – not cops and the threat of jail.

TAKE ACTION: Tell lawmakers to pass Daniel’s Law.

Message Recipients:
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Your Legislative Representatives

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Your Message
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New York must fundamentally transform the role of policing in our state – and we must start by ending our over-reliance on police as first responders in every crisis. When our friends, neighbors, or community members are experiencing a mental health crisis, they deserve to be treated with compassion, care, and understanding – not cops and the threat of jail.

In March 2020, Daniel Prude was experiencing an acute mental health crisis when his family called 911 for help. He was naked in the street, and posed no risk to any other person. Yet, Rochester Police responded in force, handcuffed him, placed a hood over his head, and held him face down on the cold pavement until he stopped breathing.

Daniel’s story is sadly not unique. Studies show that up to half of people who become victims of police violence have a disability – and overwhelmingly, a mental health disability. Tragically, for many New Yorkers, 911 has become the only option for people looking for mental health crisis intervention. And police often arrive at the scene armed with deadly weapons, a lack of mental health training, and a total inability to deescalate the personal crises they are so often assigned to handle.

The results are devastating.

Daniel’s Law would ensure that a mental health crisis is treated as a public health issue, not a public safety threat. It would mandate that our response to mental health crises center on consensual, community-informed care and de-escalation.

Daniel’s Law also places mental health professionals as the first responders to mental health crises, not police.

You can honor the memory of Daniel Prude, and prevent more unnecessary and tragic deaths at the hands of police, by passing Daniel’s Law.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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