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Fired Rochester Police Chief says his officers did “nothing egregious” in Daniel Prude death


Dave Goldiner

New York Daily News

The ousted Rochester, N.Y., police chief said he saw “nothing egregious” in a bodycam video of officers using a hood to restrain a handcuffed mentally disturbed Black man who later died of asphyxiation.

Ex-Chief La’Ron Singletary told a City Council hearing Friday that he didn’t think the footage of the March 2020 incident showed evidence of a crime.

“It appeared that there was nothing egregious at that point in time,” said Singletary, who was later fired for his role in the death of Daniel Prude.

Singletary testified that he told Mayor Lovely Warren about the incident in real time. Prude, 41, who struggled with mental problems, died a week later.

“I told the mayor there were no strikes, there were no punches with regard to the video,” Singletary said, according to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper.

Warren says Singletary has sought to downplay the role of police in Prude’s death and his own failure of leadership. He counters that the mayor pressured him to falsely say she didn’t know about the damning bodycam video until much later.

The video was not released publicly until last Sept. 2 and led to several days of racial protests in the upstate New York city of 206.000 people.

The protests came amid nationwide outrage over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last spring.

Prude was experiencing a mental breakdown when police found him running down a street naked on a freezing cold March night.

The video shows cops covering the handcuffed man’s head with a so-called spit mask designed to protect them from bodily fluids. They pinned him to the pavement for about two minutes before he lost consciousness.

The City Council hearing is separate from a grand jury investigation into Prude’s death.

No one has been charged in the death, which was ruled a homicide. An autopsy showed evidence Prude may have been high on PCP at the time of the incident.


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