As our nation continues to reevaluate our relationship with police, a number of precincts from coast to coast are finding themselves understaffed.
This latest round of police reform protests began after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police months ago, and have only intensified as subsequent instances of police brutality have occurred or are reexamined.
In Rochester, New York, the death of a man in police custody back in March has gained national attention, and has now forced out the city’s top cop and a large swath of staff.
The chief and entire command staff of the police department in Rochester, New York, resigned on Tuesday — among other department changes — as outrage continued over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man with mental health issues who died after having been put in a “spit hood” and restrained by officers in March.
Chief La’Ron Singletary announced that he would be retiring after 20 years on the force, according to a news release from the department. Singletary said the events of the past week “are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity.”
By describing his departure as a retirement, and filing his retirement papers, the chief and the other officers will be able to draw on their pension and health benefits.
Singletary was not thrilled about the circumstances of his departure.
“The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for,” Singletary, 40, said in his resignation letter. “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.”
There are still outstanding calls for Rochester’s mayor to resign as well, even as the police department has announced major changes to the way that they will handle cases involving mental illness, which is believed to be a factor in the death of Prude.
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