Mayor fires chief over USA black death

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The report comes as Rochester has been gripped by almost two weeks of protests and finger-pointing among top officials over who knew what and when after Prude's death was ruled a homicide.

Mayor Lovely Warren said she had fired Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary, less than one week after he announced his resignation and two weeks before he was set to step down.

Deputy Chief Mark Simmons was named the acting chief for the next 30 days, according to city spokeswoman Jessica Alaimo.

The footage has raised questions of a possible cover-up and turned Rochester into the latest flashpoint in a summer of protests over racial injustice and policing first sparked by George Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody. Some protesters are demanding that Warren resign.

RochesterFirst.com reported that Warren suspended without pay Da Warren said the two were suspended for "failure to act, inform, and follow policy and procedures".

"This initial look has shown what so many have suspected, that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department", Warren said at a hastily arranged press conference, according to The Associated Press.

Warren told reporters that the cursory management review of the city's handling of the March 23 incident showed that the city did not take Prude's death as seriously as it should have.

Warren said she will move forward with the eight recommendations from the review.

Video footage, released by Prude's family, showed officers using a mesh hood and pinning the 41-year-old black man to the pavement during the March arrest.

Warren has requested a federal investigation into whether Prude's civil rights were violated and if any city employees, including herself, violated any city of police department policies.

Warren says she's apologized to Prude's family for "failures". A police lieutenant may have also inappropriately sought to influence the results of Prude's autopsy, the report states.

In addition, she asked the Justice Department to conduct a review of the police department and that the city engage with an outside agency to review training manuals and regulations for police officers.

Smith concluded police and city officials fell short of standard practices, professional standards and, in reference to the original arrest, "simple concepts of human decency and dignity".

In the video, officers approach Prude, who is naked, and Prude initially complies with the officers' orders.

Communications Director Justin Roj, who was suspended Monday, was hired in December 2018. Roj added that, in hindsight, he should have questioned the police chief, who informed him of Prude's "death in custody" and the homicide ruling via email on April 10, or discussed Singletary's email with the mayor.

But details came to national attention when body camera footage of the arrest was released by the family after a public records request.

City Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin, who was suspended Monday, has been an attorney with the city of Rochester since 1994.

Warren called on the US Attorney General's office to conduct an investigation to determine if Prude's civil rights were violated.

PHOTO: Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren addresses the media during a news conference in Rochester, N.Y., September 8, 2020.

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