Rochester police chief retires after suffocation death of Black man

1010 WINS Newsroom
September 08, 2020 - 3:43 pm

In this image taken from police body camera video provided by Roth and Roth LLP, a Rochester police officer puts a hood over the head of Daniel Prude, on March 23, 2020, in Rochester, N.Y. Video of Prude, a Black man who had run naked through the streets of the western New York city, died of asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records released Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, by his family. Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester. (Rochester Police via Roth and Roth LLP via AP)

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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.

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