The announcement came after Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and several other senior police command members announced their resignations last week following unrest over the death of Daniel Prude. Singletary was to step down Sept. 29.
“We have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department, one that views everything through the eyes of the badge,” Warren said Monday during a hastily announced news conference. “The culture of policing in Rochester must change.”
Warren and Singletary have butted heads over the department’s handling of Prude’s death. She previously accused the city’s top cop of misleading her on the circumstances of the case while said his actions have been mischaracterized.
“I have directed the deputy mayor to initiative an internal management review of the city handling of the mental hygiene arrest and subsequent death of Daniel Prude,” Warren said. “Frankly, the public should have been informed of Mr. Prude’s death and the circumstances that led to his death in March, and after seeing the video, I should have conducted a formal review.”
Warren also announced that city Communications Director Justin Roj and Tim Curtin, of the city’s cooperation counsel, have been suspended without pay. Calls and messages to Singletary and the Rochester Locust Club — the police union — were not returned.
Warren previously suspended seven officers involved in Prude’s death with pay pending an investigation.
Warren has requested a federal investigation into whether Prude’s civil rights were violated and if any city employees, including herself, violated any city of police department policies. In addition, she asked the Justice Department to conduct a review of the police department and that the city engage with an outside agency to review training manuals and regulations for police officers.
The 41-year-old Prude died March 30, a week after police officers put a spit hood over his head during a mental health response call and amid COVID-19 transmission fears.
A medical examiner ruled Prude’s death a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
Details of Prude’s death ignited a wave of ongoing protests in the city while local activists and police union officials have demanded Warren step down.