Singletary suit alleges Mayor Warren knew about Prude incident earlier than she claims, asked him to lie
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Former Rochester Police Department Chief La’Ron Singletary is moving to sue the city for defamation of character, hostile work environment and wrongful and retaliatory termination.
The notice of claim was made public Wednesday night.
It claims Mayor Lovely Warren made false claims and material omissions about Singletary’s performance as police chief and handling of the Daniel Prude case, which have damaged his reputation for honesty integrity and truthfulness.
Police picked up Prude on a mental health call on March 23. He died in the hospital a week later. The Monroe County Medical Examiner ruled he died of lack of oxygen and had the drug PCP in his system and classified his death as a "homicide."
Singletary says he first saw the controversial body camera video of Prude the day Rochester Police brought Prude in, and that he told Mayor Warren how it happened that same day.
In his lawsuit, Singletary says he texted the mayor about that and, spoke with her after a news conference in April, in front of a witness, and that he then advised the mayor and the city’s lawyers as the case was later picked up by the State Attorney General, then as Prude’s family sued the city, up until the mayor herself viewed the body camera video in August.
The claim alleges that during Warren’s Sept. 3 press conference about the Daniel Prude case, she falsely claimed that Singletary never informed her that RPD officers had restrained Prude. The notice says he did inform her of an officer’s physical involvement, and the findings of the medical examiner’s report that the cause of death was homicide.
In the notice, Singletary says the mayor asked him "to provide false information and to omit material information to support the mayor’s public narrative concerning her knowledge of the events in the matter of Daniel Prude" by not mentioning her knowledge of the officers’ physical contact with Prude on March 23 to the City Council, and that he refused.
The notice goes on to say that his refusal to do so led to a hostile work environment that kept him from performing his duties as police chief, leading him to announce his resignation on Sept. 8, effective Sept. 29.
However, during a press conference on Sept. 14, Mayor Warren announced that it was Singletary’s last day.
The notice alleges that Warren did this in retaliation to Singletary’s refusal to withhold information.
Bridgette Burch White, Spokeswoman for the City of Rochester, sent the following response:
“The City administration continues to fully comply with the ongoing review by City Council into the death of Daniel Prude, as it did with the OPI investigation that found no wrongdoing. As for the Notice of Claim, it confirms the fact that Mayor Warren was never shown the body worn camera footage of the incident by former chief Singletary. It also confirms that Mayor Warren first saw the video on August 4th when it was provided by Corporation Counsel, a fact that Mr. Singletary refused to acknowledge until now. The City will fully defend taxpayers against this frivolous suit.”
Singletary’s representation released the following statement on Friday: