Rochester Police Chief, Command Staff Step Down After Daniel Prude Death

The chief and entire command staff of the police department in Rochester, New York, resigned on Tuesday (September 8) amid outrage over the death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old Black man with mental health issues who died after officers put a "spit hood" on him and restrained him in March.

Chief La'Ron Singletary, a 20-year veteran of the force, announced that he would be stepping down via retirement papers, days after saying he had no intention of resigning amid protests over the death of Prude.

"As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character," Singletary said in a statement on Tuesday. "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," he continued in his resignation letter. "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."

By describing his resignation as a retirement, the chief and the other officers, who also stepped down by filing retirement paperwork, will be able to receive their pension and health benefits.

According to NBC News, Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito, Commander Fabian Rivera announced their retirements on Tuesday as .

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren additionally said during a City Council briefing on Tuesday that the "entire Rochester police command staff" has retired and that "there may be a number of others that will decide to leave, as well."

News of the retirements came on the same day that Prude's sister, Tameshay Prude, filed a federal lawsuit against Singletary, 13 other officers and the city of Rochester, claiming Prude died as a result of "unlawful force" and the "deliberate disregard" for his medical needs. She additionally claims that the department attempted to cover-up her brother's death.

Earlier this month, Prude's family held a news conference, sharing footage of Prude's detainment taken from police body cameras that showed officers covering Prude's head with a "spit hood" and pressing him against the pavement before he stopped breathing.

Prude was being taken into custody for a mental health evaluation on March 23 after running naked through the streets of western New York. He died seven days after the police encounter on March 30.

Photo: Getty Images

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