NY Police Chief Resigns and Entire Command Staff Retire after Week of Protests
Just a day after Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary and Mayor Lovely Warren announced that there will be police reform within the Rochester Police department, the police chief and other high-ranking officers have submitted their resignation.
Their resignation comes after a week of protests calling for accountability into the officers that killed Daniel Prude.
Singletary's resignation comes the same day that Prude’s family filed a civil rights lawsuit against Singletary, the city, and other members of the police department.
Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, died on March 30, due to asphyxiation, but it remained unknown to the public until last week when the family released video footage of his death.
"I placed the phone call for my brother to get help, not for my brother to get lynched," Prude's brother Joe said.
The footage shows officers confronting a naked Prude, who was having "an acute, manic, psychotic episode," according to the family lawyer.
The officers handcuff Prude then put a spit sock over his head, and then shoving his face into the ground for more than three minutes. Prude died seven days later.
In a statement released by Singletary, a 20-year veteran of the force, he said he was retiring due to attacks of his character by outside entities.
According to CBS News:
Singletary is retiring because he would not "sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. 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’s resignation was his choosing and not Warren's, according to CBS News.
He will stay on the force until the end of the month.
The announcement of Singletary’s comes two days after Singletary announced that he had no plans of stepping down, according to NY Post.
Warren told city council members that “the entire Rochester Police Department’s command staff has announced their retirement,” during their meeting today. She added that Deputy Chief Mark Simmons was also stepping down.
She was informed about the command staff’s retirement moments before the meeting. The mayor announced during the meeting that she did not have an exact date for the command staff members retirements.
No successors were named at the time.
Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito and Commander Fabian Rivera have also announced their resignation.
Originally, Chief Singletary told Mayor Warren that Prude died of an overdose. She did not see the footage until early August, according to CBS News.
Warren confronted Singletary at the time:
"l have addressed with Police Chief La'Ron Singletary how deeply disappointed I am in him personally and professionally for failing to fully and accurately inform me about what occurred to Mr. Prude. He knows he needs to do better to truly protect and serve our community and I know he will."
The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, citing "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint," as well as "excited delirium" and PCP intoxication.
The New York Attorney General's office confirmed it was investigating the case and encouraged both the city of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department to open an internal investigation as well.
President Trump took to Twitter to release a statement:
“Police Chief, and most of the police in Rochester, N.Y., have resigned. The Democrat Mayor and, of courses, Governor Cuomo, have no idea what to do. New York State is a mess…”
Since the releasing of the footage, seven officers have been suspended.