Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary files notice of claim against city

Daniel Prude

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — According to the City of Rochester’s Office of Public Integrity, former police chief La’Ron Singletary has filed a notice of claim against the city.

OPI officials said in a report into the city’s handling of Daniel Prude’s death, which cleared city employees of any wrongdoing over Prude’s death, that Singletary’s notice of claim against the city was filed on December 3.

According to Singletary’s attorneys, because of active and ongoing investigations, the notice of claim has not yet been made public. Two known investigations regarding Daniel Prude’s death include the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and Rochester City Council. As of late October, attorneys said Singletary was not cooperating with the City Council investigation.

Singletary was fired by Mayor Lovely Warren in September, less than two weeks after details of Prude’s death became public. On the same day of Singletary’s firing, Mayor Warren suspended the city’s communication director and legal counsel in connection to Daniel Prude’s death and subsequent events.

Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, died after an encounter with Rochester police officers in March. Warren said Singletary characterized Prude’s death as a drug overdose.

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

A medical examiner ruled Prude’s death 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.

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.

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

Aside from Singletary, who announced his retirement before being fired, 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.

The Office of Public Integrity’s report said it didn’t find evidence that any city employee was more aware or involved in the city’s response than has been previously stated publicly. 

The report also found opportunities for city policies, procedures, and standards to be created or changed to improve operations. Some of the recommendations include a policy to improve reporting of critical events to the mayor, improvement of the FOIL system, and a review of access relating to police worn body camera video.

This Office of Public Integrity investigation was independent from ongoing investigations by Rochester City Council and the New York State Attorney General’s Office into Daniel Prude’s death, as well as an internal Rochester Police Department investigation — all of which remain ongoing.

Office of Public Integrity report

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Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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