NEW YORK — Rochester’s chief of police and several members of the department’s top brass announced their retirements Tuesday amid protests and outrage over the death of Daniel Prude.
Chief La’Ron Singletary, who as recently as Sunday said he had no plans to resign, slammed “outside entities” for attempting to assail his reputation as activists called on him to step down over the department’s handling of the investigation into Prude’s death.
“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Several other top members of the department are also retiring, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren told members of the city’s council Tuesday.
“As you all know this has been very challenging times for the city of Rochester and the chief was not asked to give his resignation,” she said during the meeting. “I think that the chief feels that his career and his integrity you know, has been challenged ... and feels that you know, the events that have happened, were not done in a way that ... you know, could have been handled differently. But, you know, he didn’t in any way try to cover this up.”
Prude, a 41-year-old Black man with a history of mental health issues, died in March, a week after being restrained by officers who placed a “spit hood” over his head and held him to the ground.
Prude died of “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” with the drug PCP listed as a contributing factor, according to an autopsy report from the Monroe County medical examiner.
The case gained national attention last week when police body camera footage of the encounter was made public.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said Saturday that she has empowered a state grand jury to investigate Prude’s death.
Deputy Chief of Operations Joseph Morabito and Deputy Chief of Administration Mark Simmons also stepped down.