An investigation into the official response to Daniel Prude’s police suffocation death last year in Rochester is faulting Mayor Lovely Warren and former police chief La’Ron Singletary for keeping critical details of the case secret for months and lying to the public about what they knew.
The report, commissioned by Rochester’s city council was made public last Friday.
“In the final analysis, the decision not to publicly disclose these facts rested with Mayor Warren, as the elected mayor of the City of Rochester,” said the report, written by New York City-based lawyer Andrew G. Celli Jr. “But Mayor Warren alone is not responsible for the suppression of the circumstances of the Prude arrest and Mr. Prude’s death.”
Singletary’s characterization “likely impacted” how city officials viewed the matter, the report said.
Carrie H. Cohen, Special Independent Counsel to the City of Rochester in connection with the City Council’s investigation into the City’s response to Daniel Prude’s death released the following statement:
“Having reviewed the City Council’s Special Independent Counsel’s report, it is most notable that the City Council’s Special Counsel did not find any evidence that any City employee, outside of former Police Chief Singletary, acted with ill-intent to hide or cover-up the circumstances related to the death of Mr. Prude or to intentionally deceive the public in any way. The elected officials and public servants involved in this matter made their best efforts to make decisions in real time based on the information that was made available to them and that, according to the City Council’s Special Counsel, was intentionally obscured by former Police Chief Singletary.
“There is one conclusion in the report, however, to which I am compelled to respond: the false assertion that Mayor Warren made untrue statements to the public regarding Mr. Prude’s death. At all times, Mayor Warren spoke based on the facts known to her at the time and to the extent those facts were misleading in any way, that is a direct result of the misleading way in which former Chief Singletary relayed information to the Mayor.
“Lastly, the City already has put in place a number of policy reforms and initiatives to hopefully improve internal communications and specifically address some of the issues identified in the report. It is my sincere hope that the City continues to learn and heal and that Mr. Prude’s family continues to be blessed by his memory.”
Mayor Warren said in a statement that she welcomed the report “because it allows our community to move forward.”
“Throughout city government, we have acknowledged our responsibility, recognized that changes are necessary and taken action,” she said, citing various measures on police practices and discipline.
A grand jury last month declined to indict the officers involved.