Rochester Mayor Fires Police Chief over Handling of Daniel Prude’s Death

Rochester Mayor Fires Police Chief over Handling of Daniel Prude’s Death”

The mayor of the U.S. city of Rochester has sacked the police chief and suspended two other officials over the death of a black man who was hooded and restrained during an arrest.

Rochester, N.Y. mayor Lovely Warren fired the city's police chief Monday and called for a federal civil rights investigation into the death of a black man who died after officers placed him in a hood, as well as other arrests over the last three years.

Deputy Chief Mark Simmons was named the acting chief for the next 30 days, according to city spokeswoman Jessica Alaimo.

Last week, Prude's sister filed suit in federal court against Singletary, 13 other officers and the upstate ny city, alleging in part a department cover-up of the death.

The footage has raised questions of a possible cover-up and turned Rochester into the latest flashpoint in a summer of protests over racial injustice and policing, first sparked by George Floyd's 25 May death in Minneapolis police custody. Some protesters are demanding that Warren resign. Warren also suspended two top-ranking city officials.

"We have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department, one that views everything through the eyes of the badge", Warren said Monday during a hastily announced news conference. "It shows that Mr. Prude's death was not taken as seriously as it should have been by those who reviewed the case throughout city government at every level". Warren also called for a federal review of the Prude case. The mayor called for the City Office of Public Integrity (OPI) to initiate a thorough investigation to determine if any employees - including herself - violated city policies or ethical standards.

"I have directed the deputy mayor to initiative an internal management review of the city handling of the mental hygiene arrest and subsequent death of Daniel Prude", Warren said.

The police initially described Mr Prude's death as the result of a drugs overdose.

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Warren said she would move forward with those and the other recommendations, which include having outside agencies review police training manuals and Freedom of Information Law procedures.

The report concludes that the response to Prude's death showed a "culture of insularity, acceptance and, quite frankly, callousness" within the Rochester Police Department.

Roj, the communications director, said in a statement on Monday that he was not aware of what had happened to Prude until August 4, at which point he "immediately expressed my opinion within City Hall that the officers involved should no longer be on our streets".

PHOTO: Rochester Police Chief, La'Ron Singletary speaks during a news conference with Mayor Lovely Warren regarding the protests over the death of Daniel Prude during an arrest on March 23, in Rochester, N.Y., September 6, 2020.

City attorneys also failed to respond in a timely way to a public records request for the footage that was filed by a Prude family attorney, the report says.

City Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin, who was suspended Monday, has been an attorney with the city of Rochester since 1994.

Because the investigation into Prude's death was being conducted by the New York State Attorney General's office instead of the local district attorney, Smith said, city officials involved may have been confused about which rules to follow.

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