La’Ron Singletary, the former Rochester police chief who was terminated in September, is making some shocking claims in legal documents that were released to the public earlier this week.
According to NBC News, Singletary said Rochester mayor Lovely Warren urged him to omit facts and give false information to back her claim that it wasn’t until months after Daniel Prude’s death that she learned the key details of the March confrontation with police that ended his life.
Singletary wrote in a notice of claim sent to the city as a precursor to a lawsuit released on Wednesday (December 16) that Warren was particularly worried his testimony before a city council panel investigating Prude’s death would undermine her multiple assertions that he had hid information from her.
After Prude’s death became public in September, the former chief said Warren’s statements were false and that his character was defamed and reputation as an upstanding law enforcement official was harmed. Warren said Singletary had initially told her Prude’s death was the result of a drug overdose.
Bridgette Burch White, a city spokesperson, said in a statement that Rochester will “fully defend taxpayers against this frivolous suit.”
She added that Singletary’s claims confirm Warren’s assertion that the former chief never showed her body camera footage from the officers involved in Prude’s arrest and that she only saw it in August, when it was provided to her by a city lawyer.
Burch White said that was “a fact that Mr. Singletary refused to acknowledge until now.”
Daniel Prude died after police officers in Rochester, New York placed a hood over his head while taking him into custody, causing him to suffocate on March 23, records released by activists and his family say. Seven days prior, he had been visiting from Chicago when he allegedly had a mental episode and ran out of his brother’s home.
Prude was reportedly running through the streets when police picked him up. He was placed in a spit hood and restrained by an officer who put his knee on Prude’s back. He was removed from life support and died March 30. A medical examiner ruled Prude’s death a homicide from “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”