Ex-Rochester police chief says mayor pressured him to lie about Daniel Prude’s death
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Rochester, NY police chief fired by mayor over death of Daniel Prude
Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary has accused the mayor of pressuring him to lie about the events that followed the fatal arrest of Daniel Prude – and then axing him because he refused, according to a report.
Prude, 41, suffocated after cops placed a “spit hood” over his head and pushed him to the ground while he was naked and in distress on March 23.
Mayor Lovely Warren has suspended seven cops pending an investigation into their roles in the death, which has been ruled a homicide after an autopsy report said Prude’s cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
The circumstances surrounding his death were not made public until September, when the family released police bodycam footage.
Warren, who has claimed Singletary told her Prude died of a PCP overdose, has said she had not seen the footage until August — and argued that the chief downplayed the circumstances surrounding the death, CBS News reported.
“l have addressed with police Chief La’Ron Singletary how deeply disappointed I am in him personally and professionally for failing to fully and accurately inform me about what occurred to Mr. Prude,” she said at the time.
Singletary announced his resignation days later — but was fired weeks before he was set to officially leave.
In his notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, the former chief claims he was given the boot because he refused to lie to the City Council to support Warren’s narrative that she had been misinformed about the death, according to CBS News.
“On September 7, Mayor Warren asked me to withhold full and truthful information from the City Council investigation into the matter of Daniel Prude,” Singletary wrote.
“Mayor Warren asked me instead, to provide false information and to omit material information to support the Mayor’s public narrative concerning her knowledge of the events in the matter of Daniel Prude,” he added.
Singletary also said he was asked that day to omit that he told the mayor in April that Prude’s death was ruled a homicide — and that he had previously told her that cops had restrained Prude.
He added that when he announced his retirement on Sept. 8, he sent “a clear indication to Mayor Warren that if I publicly commented or testified in the course of any investigation including the City Council’s investigation concerning the matter of Daniel Prude that my truthful testimony would inevitably reveal the mayor’s false public narrative,” CBS News reported.
“For this reason and possibly others, I allege and believe I was terminated on September 14th,” he said.
“The Mayor of the City of Rochester, and others acting on the Mayor’s behalf, impugned my performance as Chief of Police of the City of Rochester by making false statements and material omissions about my performance and discharge of duties in the matter of the treatment of Daniel Prude in the custody of the Rochester Police, his subsequent death, the internal investigations conducted by the Rochester Police Department and my communication with Mayor Warren and other city officials,” Singletary added.
The city of Rochester did not respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
A review from the city’s Office of Public Integrity found this week that no city workers “violated city or departmental policies or ethical standards” in handling the case, the outlet reported, citing WROC-TV.
The New York attorney general is still investigating the case.
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