Tags: George Floyd Protests | rochester | prude | police | terminated

Rochester Mayor Ousts Police Chief, Suspends Other Officials

papers taped to a wall read justice for daniel prude
Notices reading "Justice for Daniel Prude" are pasted on the exterior walls of City Hall in protest of the police killing of Daniel Prude on September 8, 2020, in Rochester, New York. (Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images)

Monday, 14 September 2020 05:35 PM

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on Monday announced the immediate ouster of Police Chief La'Ron Singletary and the suspension of other city officials in connection to the probe of the death of Daniel Prude in police custody earlier this year.

Singletary had previously said he would be leaving his position on Sept. 29.

RochesterFirst.com reported that Warren suspended without pay Da Warren said the two were suspended for "failure to act, inform, and follow policy and procedures."

"I have directed the deputy mayor to initiative an internal management review of the city handling of the mental hygiene arrest and subsequent death of Daniel Prude," Warren said. "Frankly the public should have been informed of Mr. Prude's death and the circumstances that led to his death in March, and after seeing the video, I should have conducted a formal review."

Top police leaders last week announced their retirements Tuesday amid nightly protests over the handling of the suffocation death of Prude, whose family filed a federal lawsuit alleging a cover-up by law enforcement.

Prude, a 41-year-old Black man died several days after an encounter with police March 23 in New York's third-largest city. There have been nightly protests in the city since the video's release.

"The events that have unfolded today have taken us completely by surprise, as they have everyone else," the Rochester police union, known as the Locust Club, said in a prepared statement. The union blamed the "problems of leadership" on the mayor.

Officers found Prude running naked down the street in March, handcuffed him and 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.

His death sparked outrage after his relatives last week released police body camera video 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 Saturday she would form a grand jury and conduct an "exhaustive investigation" into Prude's death.

In a federal lawsuit, Prude's family alleged that it took more than 90 seconds for officers to notice he had stopped breathing because they were chatting and making jokes at his expense. Prude's sister, Tameshay, sued as executor of his estate and named the city of Rochester, Singletary and officers involved in the arrest as defendants.

Prude's family contends his death and a cover-up stem from longstanding police department policy and practice that "condones and encourages officers to use excessive force as a matter of course, and to lie in official police paperwork and sworn testimony to justify their unlawful actions."

The lawsuit alleges the police department sought to cover up the true nature of Prude's death, starting with what Warren said was Singletary reporting to her early on that Prude had an apparent drug overdose.

The lawsuit also argues officers used force against Prude at a time when he "obviously posed no threat to the safety of the officers or anyone else."

"Mr. Prude was in the midst of an acute, manic, psychotic episode," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Prude was unarmed, naked and suffering. He needed help."

Police union officials have said the officers were following their training.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on Monday announced the immediate ouster of Police Chief La'Ron Singletary and the suspension of other city officials in connection to the probe of the death of Daniel Prude in police custody earlier this year.
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Monday, 14 September 2020 05:35 PM
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