"The Rochester Police Department's "entire command staff" announced their retirement on Tuesday, the mayor there said, amid raging protests over the death of Daniel Prude, the black man who was killed while being subdued by city cops while he suffered an apparent breakdown.
"Chief La'Ron Singletary, a 20-year veteran of the force, and Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito, who served the department for 34 years, released statements moments before a scheduled briefing with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and the City Council about last night's demonstrations.
"During the meeting, Warren told council members that "the entire Rochester Police Department's command staff has announced their retirement," adding that Deputy Chief Mark Simmons was also stepping down.
" "There may be a number of others who will decide to leave as well and retire," Warren warned.
"Rochester native Singletary, 40, had faced calls for resignation from Black Lives Matter activists over his handling of the investigation into Prude's March death — though he'd said as recently as Sunday that he wouldn't step down.
"The mayor stressed that Singletary, who was named chief in April 2019, hadn't been asked to hand in his resignation, saying "I do believe he is doing his best."
" "The chief has felt that his career and integrity has been challenged," Warren said. "He has dedicated 20 years to this city and feels that the events that have happened.. could have been handled differently. But he didn't in any way try to cover this up."
"In a press release announcing his retirement, Singletary blasted what he called the "mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude's death."
" "As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character," the statement said. "The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity."
"He added: "The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for."
"Morabito, who oversees the department's operations bureau, didn't state a reason, saying in a statement that serving on the force was "one of the proudest achievements of my lifetime."
" "I have often reflected on my time growing up in this City, and the many friends and neighbors who helped guide me and encouraged my decision to become an officer," Morabito said. "I have never regretted that decision, and the people who I have had the privilege of assisting throughout my service."
"No successors were immediately named. The mayor said she didn't yet have an exact date for the retirements, as she was informed about the leadership shakeup just moments before the council briefing." "
Tamar Lapin - New York Post