The mayor of Rochester, New York, has been relievedof his duties and suspended the city’s chief lawyer after Daniel Prudes . The announcement comes after the city’s deputy mayor conducted an initial managerial review of how city and police officers acted in the wake of Prude’s death.
Mayor Lovely Warren said Monday that it would be Chief of Police La’Ron Singletary’s last day with the city’s police department and that two city employees have been suspended without pay: Communications Director Justin Roj and the city̵
In a summary of his 323-page review, Deputy Mayor James Smith described a “culture of honesty, acceptance and frankly” rudeness “in the police force.
Smith wrote that no one from the department told the mayor’s office about Prude’s death until mid-April – eight days after the police union was reportedly informed and allowed to watch footage from the body.
But even when Chief Singletary told Roj about Prude’s death in an email on April 10, he incorrectly characterized the doctor’s examination results, Smith wrote. In an email included in the report, Singletary said the doctor found that Prude died of PCP intoxication, agitated delirium and “resisting arrest” – when the report actually concluded that he had died of PCP intoxication, agitated delirium and “complications of suffocation associated with physical restraint.”
The chief did not provide the medical examination report or the footage according to the email contained in the report.
“This email is certainly incompatible with interactions between former Chiefs and the Communications Director and could be seen as less than obvious,” Smith wrote. “It must be asked why Chief Singletary presented Director Roj with such a limited view of the situation.”
The summary review also criticized Roj and Curtin for not demanding to see the footage or to inform Mayor Warren of the significance of the case.
Roj was only included in two known email threads about the case, the deputy mayor said. “Nevertheless, it should be noted that Director Roj missed these opportunities and did not go through [bodycam] recordings and inform the mayor of his findings, ”he wrote.
Although Singletary’s April email to Roj said the mayor “has been in the loop” since March 23, it did not specify what that meant. Mayor Warren has said that Singletary originally told her that Prude had died of an overdose and that she was not aware of the whole story until she saw the footage in early August. The deputy mayor’s review supports this claim.
Roj tweeted a statement accepting the mayor’s decision to suspend him on Monday.
“It was announced by Chief Singletary in his email that the mayor and the bar department were already informed,” he wrote. “Therefore, I did not make any of them aware of what happened when the boss declared that he was fulfilling his responsibility to do so. Eventually, I agree that I should have questioned the boss further and / or taken the opportunity to discuss his email with the mayor. “
Similarly, while Smith credited Curtin for informing the mayor about the footage when he saw it in August, he said Curtin should have acted after being included in a June email about the bodycam footage.
“In his honor [Curtin] “seems to be the first person to see the video that had an instinctive or visceral reaction to its content – but this reaction came at least two and no doubt five months late,” said Smith.
Mayor Warren said Rochester police need to be changed, and apologized for how carelessly the case has been reviewed.
“This initial look has shown that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department, one that sees everything through the eyes of badges and not the citizens we serve,” Warren added, saying she has apologized to Prude’s family for the city’s failures. . “Never again can we let any man or woman die unnecessarily in police custody.”
Mayor Warren also called for a federal review of the Prude investigation and asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate any violations of Prude’s civil rights. “This tragic loss of human life has shown that we have systematic errors,” she said. “We need to acknowledge these flaws and introduce these forms that create transparency.”
Prude’s death was largely unknown until his family released body camera footage from his meeting with police. Footage showed officers confronting a naked Prude, who his family said had a mental health episode, on Rochester Street on March 23.
The footage, whichin the city the officers handcuffed Prude, put a spear sock over his face, and pushed his face into the ground for more than three minutes. Seven officers involved in the arrest have been .