‘The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr Prude’s death is not based on facts, and is not what I stand for. ‘ – Rochester Police chief La’Ron Singletary
The Rochester police chief and his entire senior staff resigned Tuesday amid the fallout of Daniel Prude’s death in police custody
Rochester Police chief La’Ron Singletary, his Deputy Chief Joseph M. Morabito and Chief of Administration Mark L. Simmons are among top cops who have retired
Mayor Lovely Warren made the shock announcement on Tuesday and said the mass departure could include other senior commanders as well
It comes amid criticism of the city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old black man, on March 23
Prude’s death sparked outrage and nightly protests after his relatives last week released police body camera video of the encounter
It showed officers putting a hood over his head to stop him from spitting and then holding him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing
Singletary has defended his actions and says ‘events over past week are attempt to destroy my character and integrity’
Announcing the suspension of the cops involved last week, Mayor Warren accused police of being less than honest in their report, while urging NY Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the matter
Police brass in Rochester, New York’s third-largest city this week retired en masse amid criticism of the city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude in March.
Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, upstate New York Tuesday announced that the leadership of the police department are retiring en masse.
Rochester Police chief La’Ron Singletary, Deputy Chief Joseph M. Morabito and Chief of Administration Mark L. Simmons are among those who chose to retire amid criticism of the city’s handling of the suffocation death of the 41-year-old black man on March 23.
Warning: Graphic Contents
Disturbing video shows Daniel Prude, a black man suffocate during arrest. The 41-year-old died several days after an encounter with police on March 23.
The shock resignations were announced by Mayor Warren at a virtual city council briefing on Tuesday. Council members had been expecting the chief to appear in person to discuss ongoing protests over Prude’s death.
Singletary has been facing calls to resign ever since details emerged last week of Prude’s death several days after his encounter with police on March 23.
Rochester, a city of 200,000 people on Lake Ontario, erupted with protests last week after the Prude family released body camera footage from the arrest.
It showed police putting a hood over the 41-year-old black man’s head and pinning him to the pavement to restrain him.
The police chief, who as recently as Sunday said he planned to stay on, said in a statement that event over the past week were an attempt to destroy his ‘character and integrity’.
‘As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character,’ he said.
‘The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for.
‘The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr Prude’s death is not based on facts, and is not what I stand for. ‘
Singletary who was appointed chief in April 2019, said he looks forward to ‘continuing to serve our community in my next chapter.’
There have been nightly protests ever since details of Prude’s death emerged last week.
Officers who found Prude running naked down the street had put a hood over his head to stop him from spitting, then held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing.
He died a week later after he was taken off life support.
His brother, Joe Prude, had called 911 seeking help for Daniel Prude´s unusual behavior. He had been taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation earlier that night but was released after a few hours, his brother told officers.
The outrage over his death started after his relatives released the bodycam footage and written reports they obtained through a public records request.
Seven police officers were suspended a day later and state Attorney General Letitia James said on Saturday that she would form a grand jury and conduct an ‘exhaustive investigation’ into Prude’s death.
Police union officials have said the officers were following their training.
The release of the footage five months after Prude’s death had raised questions of a cover-up and turned Rochester into the latest flashpoint in a summer of protests over racial injustice first sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd.
Warren said she didn’t know when the retirements would take effect.
Mayor Lovely Warren said on Tuesday that the mass departure could include other senior commanders as well. Warren made the surprise announcement of the retirements at a City Council briefing held online.
It was unclear who would be in charge of police on Tuesday night if demonstrators come out for a sixth straight night, as expected.
‘If that retirement is effective immediately, then we will have to find an interim chief,’ Warren said.
‘I do know that it is going to be difficult to do that.’
Demonstrators have been calling for the resignations of both Chief Singletary and Mayor Warren, who are both black.
For Iman Abid, of the Free the People ROC – the group behind the nightly protests, said the mass retirements from the police department was ‘great news’.
‘It says to the people that people are able to move things and to shape things. The police chief wouldn’t retire if it weren’t for something that he felt he was accountable to,’ she said.
The group however, intend to continue with nightly protests with further demands for the resignation mayor Warren, defunding and demilitarizing of police, and development of a state law barring police departments from responding to mental health crises, Abid said.