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The Rochester Police Chief resigns after Daniel Prude’s death sparked days of protests



The chief of police in Rochester, New York, announced his resignation on Tuesday, as his department died in March of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old black man who died in police custody. Chef La’Ron Singletary, a 20-year veteran of the department, was named to the role by Mayor Lovely Warren last year.

Singletary issued a statement that he was retiring because he would not “stand idly by while outside beings try to destroy my character. Last week’s events are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity.”

“The misrepresentation and politicization of the actions I took after I was briefed on Mr. Prude̵

7;s death is not fact based and is not what I stand for,” he added.

Warren said Tuesday she hadn’t asked Singletary to resign and later said Singletary would stay on duty until the end of the month.

Prude’s death was largely unknown until his family released body camera footage of his encounter with police last week. The footage showed officials confronted on a street in Rochester on March 23 with a nude prude who his family said had a mental health episode.

The footage, which sparked protests In town, officials demonstrated how they handcuff Prude, put a spit sock over his face, and shoved his face into the ground for more than three minutes. Seven officers involved in the arrest were suspended.

La'Ron Singletary
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary on September 6, 2020.

Brendan McDermid / REUTERS


Warren alleged last week that Singletary originally told her that Prude died of an overdose in police custody and that she didn’t see the Prude footage until early August.

“I spoke to Police Chief La’Ron Singletary about how deeply disappointed I was, personally and professionally, in him that I was not given full and accurate information about what happened to Mr. Prude,” Warren said at the time. “He knows he has to do better to truly protect and serve our community, and I know he will.”

Warren and Singletary have countered allegations of covering up Prude’s death, saying they had been instructed to allow the New York Attorney General to complete their investigation before publicly disclosing information on the case. State law requires that all deaths in police custody be investigated by the Attorney General’s office.

Singletary’s resignation comes days after the attorney general announced she was setting up a grand jury to investigate the case, and on the same day Prude’s family filed a civil rights lawsuit against Singletary, the city and other members of the police force.

Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito and Commander Fabian Rivera also announced their resignation, while Deputy Chief Mark Simmons and Commander Henry Favor are returning to their previous ranks as lieutenants, the division said.


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