Former RPD chief: ‘I repeatedly refused to lie for Mayor Warren’ in Daniel Prude death investigation

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary claims Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren asked him to lie to city council about the death of Daniel Prude.

“Mayor Warren asked me to withhold full and truthful information from the City Council investigation into the matter of Daniel Prude,” Singletary said, in a notice of claim made public Wednesday night. “Mayor Warren asked me instead, to provide false information to support the Mayor’s public narrative concerning her knowledge of the events in the matter of Daniel Prude. I repeatedly refused to lie for Mayor Warren. Pressure to support Mayor Warren’s narrative also came from other city officials.”

Singletary filed a notice of claim against the city on December 3, which was mentioned in a Rochester Office of Public Integrity Report Tuesday that cleared some city employees of any wrongdoing in regards to Prude’s death.

The investigators of the report didn’t interview Rochester police, whom are city employees, and is independent from other ongoing investigations into the matter, including investigations by Rochester City Council and the New York State Attorney Attorney General’s Office.

Singletary was fired by Warren in September, less than two weeks after details of Prude’s death first became public, and less than one week after he and several other high-ranking RPD members announced their intention to retire at the end of the month.

The mayor’s office responded to the notice in a statement Wednesday evening, saying:

“The City administration continues to fully comply with the ongoing review by City Council into the death of Daniel Prude, as it did with the OPI investigation that found no wrongdoing. As for the Notice of Claim, it confirms the fact that Mayor Warren was never shown the body worn camera footage of the incident by former chief Singletary. It also confirms that Mayor Warren first saw the video on August 4th when it was provided by Corporation Counsel, a fact that Mr. Singletary refused to acknowledge until now. The City will fully defend taxpayers against this frivolous suit.”

— Bridgette Burch White, Spokeswoman for the City of Rochester

Read the complete documents here (the relevant section begins on page 37 of 84):

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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 on September 2.

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 the encounter with police, which could explain his erratic behavior.

A federal civil lawsuit filed from the Prude family against the City of Rochester alleges there was an internal cover-up

Aside from former Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, who was fired by Mayor Lovely Warren in September, several other high-ranking members within the RPD’s command staff have also announced retirements, in a major leadership shake-up for the city’s police department.

MORE | Timeline of Daniel Prude’s encounter with Rochester Police on March 23

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.

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