(FiveNation.com)- The city of Rochester, New York, is going to experience a major turnover in their police force, and it’s because the staffers are sick and tired of the “mischaracterization and politicization” of their actions.
La’Ron Singletary, the police chief of the city, announced on Tuesday that he was resigning from his position. He and his department have been receiving significant backlash recently after video footage was released that captured the scene of Daniel Prude’s death while in police custody.
Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, died in custody of Rochester police back in March. He was being arrested at the time. Five months after the fact, Prude’s family released body camera footage that apparently shows officers using a mesh hood and pinning Prude to the ground.
The medical examiner in the city ruled that his death was homicide by asphyxiation. A contributing factor in the death was PCP, as Prude was experiencing a psychotic episode at the time of his arrest.
Following the release of the footage, activists with Black Lives Matter groups were calling for Singletary to resign. They alleged that there could have been a potential cover-up going on since March.
In a Facebook post, a local Black Lives Matter group called Free the People ROC wrote:
“Let’s keep the pressure up until all those responsible for Daniel Prude’s murder and cover-up — including Mayor Lovely Warren — have resigned, taken responsibility and donated their pensions to the families they allowed to be harmed.”
On Sunday, Singletary said he would stay on the force, and he was backed by Mayor Lovely Warren. Both Singletary and Warren are Black.
But by Tuesday, Singletary changed his mind. Singletary, who has been on the force for 20 years, released a statement that defended his character and actions. In it, he said:
“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. 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.”
Joseph Morabito, the deputy chief, has decided to resign as well. Warren also said “there may be a number of others that will decide to leave as well.”
Last week, seven police officers who were involved in Prude’s arrest were suspended.
Warren told the Rochester City Council that she didn’t ask Singletary to resign. She did say, though, that there was “information that was brought to light today that I have not previously seen before,” without elaborating.
Now, the Rochester police department will be in upheaval, all because of pressure from outside groups that have made a lot of noise. They aren’t necessarily educated about the situation that went on, what happened on the scene, why the officers did what they did and whether Singletary acted appropriately in the months following.
Now, though, they won’t have to worry about having Singletary as police chief or Morabito as deputy chief. If even more officers leave the force, there could be huge shoes to fill in a city that is experiencing a lot of violence.