ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo held a press conference Wednesday to call for Mayor Lovely Warren’s resignation.
“There’s a need for change,” Mazzeo said. “When we have a command staff walk out the door, something is wrong. I think too many people are involved in this that know the truth, and I hope the others learn soon.”
The mayor responded shortly thereafter with a statement, which called on Mazzeo himself to resign:
“For 30 years, the problem with policing in Rochester are cops like Mike Mazzeo that watch the video of Daniel Prude’s death and see nothing wrong.
Who believe there is nothing wrong with driving Mr. Prude’s head into the street. Who believe there is nothing wrong with other officers standing by, joking and failing to intervene while Mr. Prude is dying. Who think its fine to just casually ignore him as he takes his last breath, and then callously and falsely inform his brother who begged for him not to be harmed.
Mike Mazzeo and his ilk exist only to protect and serve themselves, and certainly not the people of the City of Rochester.
It is time for Mike Mazzeo to resign, because his archaic ways of policing are no longer wanted in the City of Rochester.”
When asked what would go into the search for a new police Chief, Mazzeo said: “Perhaps when we do a search for the chief, we do a search for a mayor.”
Mazzeo said the state of the department is disturbing, and he blames leadership.
“When you have command staff that’s had enough, it’s usually from the bottom up — that people are getting frustrated,” Mazzeo said. “We see that from retirements, and people seeing other departments. When you see it from top down, that’s really disturbing. There’s no assurance that things will be OK.”
Mazzeo was critical of the some of the response from the public and elected officials in regards to Daniel Prude’s death.
“City councilmembers are calling our people murderers,” Mazzeo said. “They don’t have knowledge or experience. I can’t recall any councilmen reaching out to me to say, ‘what can we do to help?’ What they have done is shut the door in our face, refuse to hear our concerns, or hear from the people who do the job. On how to get to a better place? They’re on for some other agenda, not to serve the city or the people who elected them.
“There’s a lot of conversation right now about working together, changing policing, getting someplace better. OK, we’re ready. Tell us what you want us to do, we’ll do it. That’s our job. Police don’t determine what policing is, the communities do.”
On Tuesday, the Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary announced he is retiring, along with other members Rochester Police Department’s command staff, which came less than one week after news of Daniel Prude’s death first became public. The mayor held a 90-second press conference at City Hall Tuesday to address the RPD shake-up, and did not take questions from media.
After the announcement, the police union released the following statement:
“The events that have unfolded today have taken us completely by surprise, as they have everyone else. What is clear is that the problems of leadership go directly to the Mayor’s office. Our priority now is on the dedicated men and woman, who despite unprecedented challenges, continue to do a very difficult job. Our members remain focused and committed to serving the citizens of this city, despite the lack of support and leadership that we are witnessing coming from our elected officials in City Hall.”
Police union press conference
Check back with News 8 WROC as we continue to update this developing story.
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