Rochester Mayor Removes Chief, Calls for Sweeping Investigations of City's Role in Daniel Prude's Death

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren
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Mayor Lovely Warren delivered a brief press conference on Monday where she made major staffing changes within several city departments and called on the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate Rochester's role in the death of Daniel Prude.

In a six-minute announcement, Warren called for several investigations into the city's handling and disclosure of information around Prude's death, the suspension of several top city officials, and the immediate removal of Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary.

"I have directed the deputy mayor to initiate an internal management review of the city's handling of the mental hygiene arrest and subsequent death of Daniel Prude to determine who knew what and when. The public should have access to this information that we currently have now and any additional information when it becomes available," Warren started.

Citing the initial investigation, Warren announced the suspensions of City Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin and Communications Director Justin Roj for 30 days without pay. Warren said Curtin and Roj were suspended for "failure to act, inform, and follow police and procedures."

She also announced that Monday was Singletary's last day on the job. Singletary, who abruptly announced his retirement last week along with three other leaders of the force, was not scheduled to leave the position until the end of September.

"This initial look has shown what so many have suspected, that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department. One that views everything through the eyes of the badge and not the citizens we serve," Warren said.

The chief and entire command staff of the police department in Rochester, New York, stepped down on Tuesday — among other department changes — as outrage continued over the death of Daniel Prude.

Detailed in her press conference, Warren directed the City Office of Public Integrity to investigate if any Rochester employees – including herself – violated policy or ethical standards, requested an investigation by the U.S. Attorney General's Office into possible civil rights violations, requested the U.S. Department of Justice review body worn camera footage from the past three years, and announced her intention to review police department procedures through an outside agency.

"I have apologized to the Prude Family and this community for the failures that happened along the way, including my own – as mayor, I own these failures. And as mayor, I have an obligation, once identified, to do everything to fix them," she said.

Warren did not include details of who would replace Singletary at her briefing.

It was a little more than one week ago that Attorney General Letitia James moved to form a grand jury to investigate the death of Prude.

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