Rochester braces for violent riots after grand jury declines to indict officers for Daniel Prude’s death

ROCHESTER, NY- On Tuesday, February 23rd, a grand jury declined to indict seven Rochester police officers in connection with the death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude, prompting the city to prepare for violent protests.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a news conference:

“A grand jury has voted to not indict any police officer on charges related to the death of Daniel Prude. My office concluded there was sufficient evidence surrounding Mr. Prude’s death to present the case to a grand jury and we presented the most comprehensive case possible.”

She added:

“Daniel Prude was in the throes of a mental health crisis and what he needed was compassion, care, and help from trained professionals. Tragically, he received non of those things. While I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community, and communities across the country will rightfully be disappointed by this outcome, but ultimately we have to respect the decision.”

James proceeded to call from criminal justice reform measures and more accountability for police officers. She said:

“The current laws on deadly force have created a system that utterly and abjectly failed Mr. Prude and so many others before him. Serious reform is needed, not only at the Rochester Police Department, but to our criminal justice system as a whole.”

She continued:

“I will be pursuing a multifaceted approach to address the very issues that have prevented us from holding officers accountable when they improperly use deadly force. I am committed to effecting the change that is so desperately needed and I will be unshakeable in my efforts to see it through.”

The attorney general said a judge granted her motion to unseal and publicly release the grand jury minutes related to the investigation. She released a statement saying:

“As soon as the judge authorizes, my office will release those proceedings so the Prude family, the Rochester community, and communities across the country will no longer be kept in the dark. This is a critical step in effecting the change that is so desperately needed.”

Reportedly, Rochester police had represented Prude’s death to the public as a fatal drug overdose and his autopsy confirmed that he had PCP in his system when he died.

However, when the bodycam video was released that showed Prude’s altercation with the police that preceded him losing consciousness, the community erupted in violent riots that rocked the city.

James had the authority to go after the Rochester police officers because of a 2015 executive order that gave the attorney general the authority to investigate and prosecute law enforcement officers when an unarmed civilian is killed.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed that into law after a New York City grand jury declined to indict former NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. Rochester has began preparing for violent protests and has erected concrete barriers around the Rochester Public Safety building.

After the announcement, Elliot Shields, the Prude family lawyer said in a statement:

“The system failed Daniel Prude again. It failed him on March 22 when he was released from the hospital. It failed him on the night of March 23 when the police used deadly force against him and it failed him again today.”

According to a joint statement from its Civil Rights Division, the U.S. attorney in western New York, and the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department plans to review the attorney general’s findings. Mike Johnson, a Rochester activist who planned to protest the decision at the site of Prude’s fatal injury, said in a statement:

“I don’t think it’s over. I don’t think this grand jury decision is the last say in seeking justice for this issue. This was just another slap in the face.”

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Anti-Police protest turns violent after dark in Rochester: They won’t stop ‘abusing our babies’

February 4th, 2021

ROCHESTER, NY– Riots have ripped through the streets of Rochester, New York since the in custody death of George Floyd in May of 2020. Now, more than six months later, the violence continues.

What was intended to be a Black Lives Matter protest turned into violence and destruction on Monday, January 1st when chanting protesters began overturning police barricades in an attempt to get to the police station. 

According to Breitbart, Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets in Rochester Monday afternoon to protest in response to a nine-year-old girl who was pepper-sprayed by police late last week.

An officer used handcuffs and “an irritant” on the minor who reportedly threatened to harm herself, RochesterFirst.com reported.

The incident began when the custodial parent of the girl called police and informed them that she had intentions of harming herself and others. The girl ran from her home, but police officers were able to catch up with the nine-year-old and handcuffed her when she refused to cooperate. 

According to the local news outlet, the girl refused to put her feet in the police car, forcing an officer to spray her with an “irritant” in an attempt to get her to comply. 

Officials said the girl became:

“agitated when she saw her custodial parent,”

They continued to say:

“This caused the minor to pull away and kick at officers, which required an officer to take the minor down to the ground.”

In response to this incident, protesters began marching in the streets on Monday afternoon chanting “protect our children”

One protester told the Rochester news station:

“The mother was there,”

They continued:

“In this incident, there was no reason for the police officer to be so rough with this child. We’re here because we want change. We want our police officers to stop abusing our babies.”

Independent Journalist, Geoffery Rogers tweeted the protest, showing the large group gathered at the police station on North Clinton Avenue. 

Rogers then posted a video showing the aggressive turn the march took as protester’s began moving and overturning barricade fences in an attempt to get near the police station.

Gutenschwager then posted video of the group chanting:

The crowd eventually left the police station and vehicles full of supporters joined those marching in the street. 

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Rochester officers allowed to cover their name tags as protesters threaten their families

September 12, 2020

ROCHESTER, NY– Rochester Police have been the victims of slander and violence at the hands of protesters since the death of Daniel Prude in March. 

Things have gotten even further out of hand as protesters are now sharing officers personal information, and threatening their families. 

Rochester Police Department officers are now allowed to cover up their names on their uniforms in order to prevent protesters from learning their personal information.

Out of control left-wing protesters have been gathering officers names, researching their information, screaming out their home addresses, the names of their children and the schools they attend, and making threats among the crowd.

They have even gone as far as making taunting calls to their parents in front of them, in addition to sharing their personal information on social media. 

RPD Chief La’Ron Singletary said a statement, 

“The past couple of months officers names have been researched by protesters to put personal information out to the public, putting the safety of their families in jeopardy,” 

He added:

“Officers have been allowed to remove their name tags in an effort to prevent their personal information from being spread on social media,” 

On Thursday, September 10th, Bob Lonsberry, local radio host posted about this on Twitter saying:

“Peaceful protesters have stood outside the [Rochester] Public Safety Building, read an officer’s name off his uniform, tracked him down on their phones, and called his parents to taunt them. Or held up the phone to show the officer his home address and threaten to come after him there.”

According to The Daily Wire, Singletary had his statement read by City Council Chief of Staff Robert Scanlon during a briefing with Democrat Mayor Lovely Warren and city council members on Wednesday. The police chief did not attend the meeting in person.

WHAM 1180 also reported on the actions of the protesters, saying:

City Council members questioning why Rochester Police Officers covered their names and sometimes badge numbers at the series of nightly protests were told it was for the officer’s protection.

Chief Singletary says protesters are Googling officer names and spreading information about them and their families on social media. Deputy Chief Morabito says he has seen this happen in real time, with protesters calling family members of officers right in front of them and threatening to come to their homes. He says he personally gave his officers permission to cover their name tags.

This comes on the heels of the announcement Chief Singletary made this him, and his entire command staff will be retiring. 

ROCHESTER, NY- The chief and deputy chief of the Rochester police department have both announced their retirements from the police force.

According to reports, Police Chief La’Ron Singletary was appointed chief back in April 2019 and leaves the department with 22 years of service.

Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito, who has been overseeing the department’s operations bureau leaves the department with 34 years of service. He said:

“It has also been my honor to serve this community through these many years; a community I was born and raised in and deeply love.”

Allegedly, Mayor Lovely Warren has been questioning Singletary’s leadership following the March 30th death of Daniel Prude.

Warren claims that Singletary told her Prude died from a drug overdose and that he did not inform her of the officers’ actions until August.

In a news release, Singletary said that his actions have been mischaracterized. He said:

“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idle by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Great Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for.”

In his own, separate announcement, Morabito said that he was honored to serve on the police force and that he never regretted that decision. During a scheduled briefing, Mayor Warren announced the news to the Rochester City Council:

“As you all know, this has been very challenging times for the city of Rochester and the chief was not asked to give his resignation because I do believe that he’s given you his very best and with some information that was brought to light today that I had not previously seen before and that the chief has felt that his career and integrity has been challenged.”

She added:

“He has dedicated 20 years to this city and the citizens of Rochester and feels that the events that have happened were not done in a way that, you know, could’ve been handled differently, but he didn’t, in any way, try to cover this up.”

Warren said that it is unclear if the retirements are effective immediately. She said:

“If that retirement is effective immediately, then we will have to find that interim chief and whoever that interim chief would be would step up and lead the department at this time. I do know that is going to be difficult at this time.”

https://twitter.com/troydwilliams67/status/1303440803348520961

Singletary appeared briefly at a community gathering a few days prior to his retirement announcement where allegedly he was confronted by some protesters who kept calling him, “the enemy.” When he announced his retirement he said:

“Today, after 20 years of dedicated service to the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester community, I announce my retirement from the Rochester Police Department. For the past two decades, I have served this community with honor, pride, and the highest integrity.”

He added:

“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.”

He said:

“I would like to thank the men and women of the Rochester Police Department as well as the Rochester Community for allowing me the honor of serving as your Chief and fulfilling a lifelong dream. I look forward to continuing to serve our community in my next chapter.”

ABC News reported that Singletary’s retirement will be effective September 29th. According to City Council President Loretta Scott, there is no blueprint for how the city moves forward following the retirements of the command staff. She said:

“It was unexpected. I didn’t know that was going to happen. I don’t know if blindside is the right word, but yeah, right. This was supposed to be a briefing to talk about how the police handled the protests.”

In addition to Singletary and Morabito, Commander Fabian Rivera also announced his retirement. Deputy Chief Mark Simmons and Commander Henry Favor each left the command staff to return to their previous ranks of lieutenant. 

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Author: Jenna Curren

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