Fired RPD chief sues Mayor Lovely Warren, City of Rochester for $1.5M
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary says Mayor Lovely Warren lied to you about him and his actions after the death of Daniel Prude and encouraged him to change his story under oath.
We’ve seen these allegations before. Singletary made them in a notice of claim against Warren and the City of Rochester last December. Because there was no settlement, the Singletary filed his lawsuit in state Supreme Court Wednesday.
The biggest difference we see? The price tag. Singletary wants at least $1.5 million.
In the lawsuit, Singletary says Warren lied to the public over what she knew about the death of Prude when his story was revealed to the community last September.
The lawsuit points to public comments the mayor made about Prude’s cause of death like this one on Sept. 3.
Lovely Warren, Sept. 3, 2020: "I was informed later that day by Chief Singletary that Mr. Prude had an apparent drug overdose while in custody."
The lawsuit says comments like that defamed Singletary’s character because, according to the lawsuit, Singletary told Warren in April 2020, Prude was physically handled by police, and his death was ruled a homicide.
And that’s what he told the city council investigation in February after he was asked about a private meeting between himself and the mayor in April where Singletary says he told Warren the medical examiner called it a homicide.
La’Ron Singletary, Feb. 5, 2021: "And she said homicide? Yeah, we figured from contributing factors based on the officers held Mr. Prude down."
After the release of the council’s investigation seven months ago, the attorney for the city said the mayor never intentionally mislead the public.
Carrie Cohen, Special Counsel to the City of Rochester: "To the extent the mayor said anything to the public regarding the circumstances of Mr. Prude’s death that ended up being misleading or untrue in any way it was because of the information she was being given by the former chief."
Warren’s office released this statement following Singletary’s lawsuit Wednesday:
"As detailed in recent court proceedings reported today involving other officers, there has been a legacy in the Rochester Police Department of untruthfulness. Mr. Singletary’s testimony to the Special Counsel detailed his own inability to tell the truth, as a simple viewing of his testimony under oath clearly shows. Mr. Singletary failed in his duties as Chief and was rightfully terminated due to those failures."
Singletary’s lawsuit also says the mayor encouraged him to change his story when he was testifying to the city council investigation.
Page 16 of the lawsuit details a private meeting between Singletary and Warren, and Singletary quotes her saying she would "never ask me to lie."
But Singletary says Warren "did not want" him to mention her knowledge of what police did to Prude and asked him to "omit specifics of their conversations" regarding Prude’s cause of death.
The next day, Sept. 8, 2020, Singletary submitted his resignation with a departure date in late September. Six days later, Warren fired Singletary.