Updated Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rochester police chief fired following Daniel Prude's death

A child kneels in prayer at a make shift memorial at the site where Daniel Prude was arrested on September 03, 2020 in Rochester, New York.
A make shift memorial at the site where Daniel Prude was arrested in Rochester, New York. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said Monday she's fired Police Chief La'Ron Singletary and suspended two others following protests over the police killing of Daniel Prude, a Black man says after being hooded and held down by local police.

Why it matters: The firing of Singletary comes almost a week after he announced his retirement. Activists have called for Singletary's resignation after details of Prude's March death surfaced recently, the Democrat and Chronicle notes. Warren accused Singletary of failing to properly brief her on the killing.

  • Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin and Communications Director Justin Roj have also been suspended for 30 days without pay.
"This initial look has shown what so many have suspected, that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department. One that views everything through the eyes of the badge and not the citizens we serve. It shows that Mr. Prude’s death was not taken as seriously as it should have been by those who reviewed the case throughout city government at every level."
— Mayor Lovely Warren

The big picture: New York’s third-largest city has been roiled by demonstrations calling for justice in response to Prude's death. The action has prompted an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

  • Warren announced last week that seven police officers involved in Prude's case were suspended.
  • Tuesday's retirements come as Tameshay Prude, Prude's sister, filed a lawsuit against the city of Rochester and various members of the police department, claiming that her brother died from "unlawful force" and the "deliberate disregard" for his health care needs, NBC reports.

What they're saying: "As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character," Singletary said. "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."

  • "As you all know, this has been very challenging times for the city of Rochester," Warren said, "and the chief was not asked to give his resignation because I do believe that he’s given his very best, and with some information that was brought to light today that I had not previously seen before, and that the chief has felt that his career and integrity has been challenged."
  • "He has dedicated 20 years to this city and the citizens of Rochester and feels that the events that have happened were not done in a way that, you know, could’ve been handled differently, but he didn’t, in any way, try to cover this up."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of Singletary's firing.

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