Rochester police chief and his command staff resign in wake of video of Daniel Prude's death

Today Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and his command staff resigned their positions citing fallout from the death of Daniel Prude.

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and his entire command staff announced their retirement Tuesday, stunning leadership in City Hall and giving new urgency to the calls for justice after the death of Daniel Prude in March.

Mayor Warren announced the news to Rochester City Council during a scheduled briefing Tuesday.

The city council was actually waiting for the police chief to log in to the call when the mayor came on and announced the resignations. According to mayor Warren, Chief Singletary was not asked to give his resignation but was leaving because he felt his integrity was being challenged unfairly. Video of the mayor’s announcement is posted below.

Seven police officers involved in Prude’s death have been suspended. Saturday the state attorney general, Letitia James, announced she was setting up a grand jury to investigate and potentially bring charges in the case:

“The Prude family and the Rochester community have been through great pain and anguish,” Ms. James said in a statement on Saturday. “My office will immediately move to empanel a grand jury as part of our exhaustive investigation into this matter.”…

Mr. Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, had accused local authorities this week of failing to investigate the case in order to protect the police. On Saturday night, Mr. Prude said he was pleased by the attorney general’s announcement…

The Rochester police chief has denied that the department covered up Mr. Prude’s death. The seven officers found to be involved in the encounter with Mr. Prude were suspended this week after the release of the videos.

Even before the grand jury announcement, there was an argument between Chief Singletary and Mayor Warren over whether or not this had been covered up. Warren claimed she was told Prude had died of an overdose and that she didn’t see video of the encounter until early August. The death of Prude became a public issue when video body cam video was released last week.

Chief Singletary put out a press release about his resignation:

Today, after 20 years of dedicated service to the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester Community, I announce my retirement from the Rochester Police Department. For the past two decades, I have served this community with honor, pride, and the highest integrity.

As a man of integrity, I will 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 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. I look forward to continuing to serve our community in my next chapter.

Finally, here’s video of the announcement by the mayor. Because this was a livestream, you may need to scroll back in order to view this. Below that is a local news report on the resignation and the conflict between the mayor and the police chief.