Rochester police leaders retire in wake of calls for change
In this Aug. 6, 2020 file photo, New York State Attorney General Letitia James takes a question at a news conference in New York. James said on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020 that she will impanel a grand jury to look into the death of Daniel Prude. Prude, 41, apparently stopped breathing as police in Rochester, N.Y. were restraining him in March 2020 and died when he was taken off life support a week later. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Top police leaders in Rochester are retiring en masse amid criticism of the city’s handling of the the suffocation death of Daniel Prude, Mayor Lovely Warren said Tuesday.
La’Ron Singletary, the city’s police chief, is among those retiring, as is Deputy Chief Joseph M. Morabito and possibly other senior commanders, Warren said.
Warren made the surprise announcement of the retirements at a City Council briefing being held online. Council members had expected the chief to appear in person to discuss ongoing protests over Prude’s death.
Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, died several days after an encounter with police on March 23. Officers who found him running naked down the street put a hood over his head to stop him from spitting, then held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. He died a week later after he was taken off life support.
His brother, Joe Prude, had called 911 seeking help for Daniel Prude’s unusual behavior. He had been taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation earlier that night but was released after a few hours, his brother told officers.
His death sparked outrage after his relatives last week released police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.
Seven police officers were suspended a day later, and state Attorney General Letitia James said Saturday she would form a grand jury and conduct an “exhaustive investigation” into Prude’s death.
Police union officials have said the officers were following their training.