Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary held a news conference Sunday, addressing the death of Daniel Prude, improving policing in the city, and protests that have continued for four straight nights.
In late March, Rochester police responded to a call for a man running naked in the street. Police handcuffed the 41-year-old Prude and held him down. Still unclothed, he had to be resuscitated, and a week later, Prude died.
Before Singletary could take the stage to address the media, Warren said she believes he is the right person for the job.
“Let’s make sure that Mr. Prude did not die in vain. I whole heartedly believe RPD Chief Singletary can lead us through this time,” she said.
Warren said she does not believe there is anyone more dedicated to changing the culture of policing than the chief.
Warren started the address speaking about putting more funding and resources into mental health services following Prude’s death.
The mayor said the chief communicated everything to her regarding Prude in the right way at the right time. She says confusion was regarding on whether or not she could speak due to the investigation by the attorney general’s office.
Warren said the corporation council made her aware of the police body camera footage of what happened to Prude on August 4.
The police body camera footage was released to the public on September 2.
Warren and Singletary both said they have no plans to resign, despite voices from the community saying they should both do so.
Instead, they say they are discussing how the police department handles mental health crisis and race relations.
However, right now they are mainly focused on handling protests, which have been declared unlawful every night so far.
"So when people start to throw debris at the police or start destroying property, or throwing incendiary devices, frozen water bottles at police, that's when it becomes an unlawful assembly," he said.
Warren said she was “committed” to doing the work she was elected to do.
Singletary said police had intelligence that not all protesters were form the area. He said police have arrested people who gave them addresses from Alaska, Massachusetts, and other places.
Pastor Myra Brown from Spiritus Christi Church said she plans on having elders from the church out tonight as a buffer between protesters and officers.
Mayor Warren said she wants the city and people to work together to protest safely.
"We can't continue to go down this same road that we've been down. We can't continue to have these protests in this way. It breaks my heart," said Warren.
She said that moving forward, they will be to double down on the availability of mental health services in the city.