Former Rochester Police Chief Downplays Daniel Prude’s Death

Rochester’s former police chief La’Ron Singletary said he didn’t initially see anything “egregious” in the police body-cam video that captured the arrest Daniel Prude, who died after being restrained while naked on a city street.

On March 23, 2020, Rochester, NY police officers were responding to a mental health call when they encountered Prude, 41. He was naked and experiencing a mental health episode after ingesting PCP. Responding officers then detained Prude, placed a spit hood over his head and had him sit in the middle of the street while naked. Officers were seen in the body cam video holding him down for approximately two minutes until he stopped breathing. Prude was then taken to a hospital, where he died a week later after being taken off of life support.

Singletary, who was questioned about the case during a live streamed deposition on Friday, February 5, was fired by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren after the body-cam footage was made public. Immediately following Prude’s arrest, Singletary told the mayor that he had watched the body-cam video and determined, “it appeared that there was nothing egregious at that point in time.”

“I explained to the mayor that we were going to be doing an investigation,” Singletary said during the deposition. “I told the mayor there were no strikes, there were no punches with regard to the video.”

The former police chief, “downplayed what occurred from the very beginning through today and believes that neither he nor anyone in the Rochester Police Department, did anything wrong,” the City of Rochester said in a statement released Friday.

Despite Singletary’s claims that officers didn’t use excessive force, the Rochester County medical examiner ruled Prude’s death a homicide, and a grand jury is currently investigating the case.

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