Rochester police chief fired in wake of Daniel Prude death

Police Chief La'Ron Singletary addresses members of the media during a press conference on March 23, 2020. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

(CNN) -- As the city of Rochester deals with the aftermath of Daniel Prude's death while in police custody, Mayor Lovely Warren has permanently relieved the police chief of his duties just days after he said he was retiring.

Outgoing Chief La'Ron Singletary had announced last week his intent to retire at the end of September. But a review of the case has now led to his ouster.

"This initial look has shown what so many have suspected, that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department," Warren said in a news release Monday. "One that views everything through the eyes of the badge and not the citizens we serve. It shows that Mr. Prude's death was not taken as seriously as it should have been by those who reviewed the case throughout City government at every level."

Corporation counsel Tim Curtin and communications director Justin Roj were each suspended for 30 days without pay.

The decisions followed a "cursory management review of the city's role in the death of Daniel Prude and subsequent actions," according to a news release posted Monday on the city website.

Though Prude died in March, attorneys for his family released police body camera video that shows officers covering his head with a "spit sock" and holding him on the ground in a prone position before he stopped breathing. Prude stopped breathing and was declared brain-dead at a hospital, where he passed away March 30.

Last week, Prude's sister filed suit in federal court against Singletary, 13 other officers and the upstate New York city, alleging in part a department cover-up of the death.

The long-delayed announcement that a Black man had been killed by police has led to protests and accusations that local leaders hid the killing from the public.

CNN has reached out to Rochester City Council, the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester Police Locust Club for comment.

City Attorney Stephanie Prince declined to comment when reached by CNN.

This is a developing story. Return for updates

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