Breaking news. The entire Rochester Police Department (RPD) command staff, including Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, is resigning, reports said Tuesday.
“Whoa. After days of protests in Rochester over the killing of Daniel Prude, mayor Lovely Warren just announced entire Rochester police department command staff, including the chief of police, is resigning,” reported BuzzFeed News’ Paul McLeod. “Asked during a city council meeting who will be in charge during tonight’s protests, the mayor said she doesn’t know. ‘We would have to find an interim chief,’ says Warren. ‘Because I just got the call before this hearing, I don’t know.’”
Asked during a city council meeting who will be in charge during tonight’s protests, the mayor said she doesn’t know.
“We would have to find an interim chief,” says Warren says. “Because I just got the call before this hearing, I don’t know.
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) September 8, 2020
As later clarified via media reports, aside from Singletary, Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito also stepped down after nearly 34 years of service on the force. Commander Fabian Rivera stepped down, as well.
Deputy Chief Mark Simmons and Commander Henry Favor are raining on the force, but dropping back to their previous rank of lieutenant, according to the department, Fox News said.
President Trump responded to the news on Twitter stating:
“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 – No Money, High Taxes & Crime, Everyone Fleeing. November 3rd. We can fix it!”
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 – No Money, High Taxes & Crime, Everyone Fleeing. November 3rd. We can fix it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
The resignations come after the city received national media attention for their at-times violent protests over the RPD interaction with a black man named Daniel Prude, who died about a week later.
DEVELOPING: Demonstrators clash with police tonight in Rochester, New York after officers were suspended over the in-custody death of #DanielPrude
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) September 4, 2020
Local activists have demanded the resignation of Singletary and Democratic Mayor Lovely Warren over the interaction with Prude and over officials not disclosing the police body camera footage until earlier this month, though the interaction took place back in March.
Mayor Warren, thus far, has shown no indication she will resign.
“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character,” said the announcement from Singletary, according to News 10 WHEC. “The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. 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.”
“I would like to thank the men and women of the Rochester Police Department, as well as the Rochester Community for allowing me the honor of serving as your Chief and fulfilling a lifelong dream,” he added. “I look forward to continuing to serve our community in my next chapter.”
An autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, according to WXXI News, listed Prude’s cause of death as “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint due to excited delirium due to acute phencyclidine intoxication,’ an indication that Prude might have been high on PCP.”
The news outlet highlighted that police reports indicate Prude had apparently “gone on a destructive tear,” “smashing out the windows of several storefronts, and ranting about having the coronavirus” before police came in contact with him.
The Daily Wire reported on the interaction with Prude and law enforcement from March:
Back in March, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Daniel Prude, a black male, interacted with officers from the Rochester Police Department (RPD) in New York after at least two people called 911 about Prude’s behavior and welfare, included Prude’s own brother, Joe Prude.
Police reports indicate Prude was restrained by officers while waiting for the ambulance the cops summoned — video (below) suggests this was done soon after Prude told officers, “Give me your gun, I need it.”
As noted by Forbes, Prude “had been taken to the local hospital for suicidal thoughts about eight hours before his encounter with police on March 22.”
As cops were physically restraining the man for about two minutes, body camera footage (which can be viewed below) and media reports suggest the 41-year-old threw up and loss consciousness. He was reportedly resuscitated on the way to the hospital but likely suffered severe brain damage and was pulled from life support about a week later by his family.
Notably, Prude has a mesh-like hood placed over his head, dubbed a “spit hood.” The device is used to protect officers from saliva. Prude was repeatedly spitting and reportedly telling people he had COVID. (The interaction with police was in March, at the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic.)