Top police leaders in Rochester, New York, announced their retirements Tuesday amid nightly protests over the city's handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude, with the outgoing chief accusing critics of trying to "destroy my character and integrity." Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and Deputy Chief Joseph M. Morabito released emailed statements confirming their retirements. Mayor Lovely Warren told city council members in an online briefing that she believes the entire command staff decided to retire, the AP reports. The sudden announcements came more than five months after the death of Prude, a 41-year-old Black man who died several days after an encounter with police March 23 in New York's third-largest city. Police put a "spit hood" over his head and held him down.
There have been nightly protests in the city since the video's release Wednesday. Prude's family filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging the police department sought to cover up the true nature of Prude’s death. "The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity," Singletary said in a prepared statement. “The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for. 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.” Iman Abid, speaking for Free the People ROC activist group, called the move "great news." “It says to the people that people are able to move things and to shape things," she said. "The police chief wouldn’t retire if it weren’t for something that he felt he was accountable to.”
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