Chief La’Ron Singletary, RPD command staff step down amid protests

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary has retired from the Rochester Police Department.

The announcement was made Tuesday amid calls from protesters for him and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to resign after the death of Daniel Prude.

Warren has not announced any plans to resign, nor did she ask Singletary to retire.

Singletary served the RPD for 20 years and became the chief in April 2019 after a national search that drew more than 20 applicants. He was recommended for the job unanimously by the internal review committee.

The announcement read, in part,

“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly 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 Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for. 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.

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.”

Dep. Chief Joseph Morabito also announced his retirement after more than 34 years of service to the RPD. Dep. Chief Mark Simmons is returning to the rank of lieutenant. Dep. Chief Mark Mura has returned to his previous rank of captain. Commander Fabian Rivera announced his retirement, and Commander Henry Favor is returning to his previous rank of lieutenant. Commander Elena Correia also announced she will retire.

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At a City Council meeting Tuesday, Warren said she does not have an interim chief lined up yet, and that more resignations and retirements may be possible.

Warren held a press conference Tuesday. She spoke for less than one minute, saying, "The Rochester Police Department will continue to protect and serve the community and its members." She did not take questions, saying that because the resignation happened so recently, she does not have answers yet.

"While the timing and tenor of these resignations is difficult, we have faced tough times before. I truly believe that we will get through this," Warren said. "I will be meeting with city council to chart a path forward. I can assure this community that I am committed to instituting the reforms necessary in our police department and know that there are many questions, but this just occurred, and honestly, I do not have the answers today. However, I will work diligently with my partners in government to provide those answers and share them with you in the coming days."

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She urged police to continue to show restraint at the protests and for protesters to continue to be peaceful.

Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott told News10NBC Singletary’s last day will be Sept. 29. The effective dates of the other retirements and staffing changes are unknown.

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Free the People Roc made a statement on Facebook, accepting Singletary’s resignation.

The Rochester Police Locust Club released the following statement:

“The events that have unfolded today have taken us completely by surprise, as they have everyone else. What is clear is that the problems of leadership go directly to the Mayor’s office. Our priority now is on the dedicated men and women, who despite unprecedented challenges, continue to do a very difficult job. Our members remain focused and committed to serving the citizens of this city, despite the lack of support and leadership that we are witnessing coming from our elected officials in City Hall.”

This is a developing story. Check back later or watch News10NBC for more answers as they become available.