ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary announced he is retiring Tuesday, along with Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito and the entire command staff, according to Mayor Lovely Warren.
Local Black Lives Matter activists have been calling for Singletary to resign since Wednesday, due to his department’s handling of the Daniel Prude death investigation. Singletary said he wouldn’t resign Sunday.
Singletary was promoted to Chief of Police by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in April 2019. A Rochester native, and graduate of the Rochester City School District, Singletary has served on the department for 20 years.
A press release Tuesday from Singletary said:
“After 20 years of dedicated service to the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester Community, I announce my retirement from the Rochester Police Department. For the past two decades, I have served this community with honor, pride, and the highest integrity.
As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. 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.
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.
I would like to thank the men and women of the Rochester Police Department, as well as the Rochester Community for allowing me the honor of serving as your Chief and fulfilling a lifelong dream. I look forward to continuing to serve our community in my next chapter.”
Deputy Chief Morabito also released a statement Wednesday:
“Today, after almost 34 years of dedicated service to the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester Community, I announce my retirement from the Rochester Police Department. It has been my extreme honor to serve with and lead the most dedicated law enforcement professionals in the country.
It has also been my honor to serve this community through these many years; a community I was born and raised in, and deeply love. I have often reflected on my time growing up in this City, and the many friends and neighbors who helped guide me and encouraged my decision to become an officer. I have never regretted that decision, and the people who I have had the privilege of assisting throughout my service, and will always consider my membership with the Rochester Police Department as one of the proudest achievements of my lifetime.”
The police chief was scheduled to join a briefing with City Council and Mayor Lovely Warren just moments before news of his retirement broke.
That briefing convened at 3 p.m. where Mayor Warren announced the entire command staff was also retiring.
The mayor said she did not know if these retirements were effective immediately, and if they were, an interim chief would have to be appointed to oversee the department during these “difficult times,” including who gives orders during planned protests.
Prude, a 41-year-old Black man from Chicago, died after an encounter with Rochester police back in March, but news of the incident just came to light Wednesday, and now the case is being investigated by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
The autopsy report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Prude a homicide. The report says Prude’s cause of death includes “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The report also showed that Prude also had a small amount of PCP in his system at the time of his death, which could explain his erratic behavior.
Seven Rochester police officers have been suspended with pay in connection to the incident: Officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sgt. Michael Magri.
Protests have been ongoing in Rochester since the news broke Wednesday.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.
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