Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary resigned after days of protest over the death of Daniel Prude in police custody. Two deputy police chiefs also resigned.
Mayor Lovely Warren told the Rochester City Council about the resignations on Tuesday. When asked by reporters who would be in charge of law enforcement during expected protests that night, Warren said she wasn’t certain.
“We would have to find an interim chief,” Warren said. “Because I just got the call before this hearing, I don’t know.”
“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,” Singletary said.
Daniel Prude, 41, died in March after being restrained by police officers that placed him in a spit hood. His family had called the police because the man was having a mental illness episode and a medical examiner said later that he was under “acute PCP intoxication.”
The seven Rochester police officers involved in the Prude case have also been suspended.
Singletary said that he was resigning because his character was being maligned over the response to the death of Prude.
“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,” Singletary said.
“The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochesters Community know my reputation and know what I stand for,” he added. “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.”
Police Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito and Deputy Chief Mark Simmons also resigned.
While Singletary blamed “outside entities” for maligning his character, Mayor Warren had previously blamed the death of Prude on racism.
“Institutional and structural racism led to Daniel Prude’s death. I won’t deny it, I stand before it, and I call for justice upon it,” she said.