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Former RPD Chief Singletary says Mayor Warren told him to lie about Prude 

Former Rochester Police Department Chief La’Ron Singletary claims Mayor Lovely Warren told him to lie to support her version of events surrounding the death of Daniel Prude.

His assertion was made in a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, that Singletary filed recently against the city outlining his intent to sue. In it, Singletary alleged that Warren ordered him, and other city officials pressured him, to withhold information from the City Council’s investigation into the Prude matter.

“Mayor Warren asked me instead to provide false information and omit material information to support the mayor's public narrative concerning her knowledge of events in the matter of Daniel Prude,” the notice of claim read. “I repeatedly refused to lie for the mayor. Pressure to support Mayor Warren’s narrative also came from other city officials.”

Singletary alleged that the mayor made the request of him on Sept. 7. Singletary announced his plans to resign the next day, and was subsequently fired by Warren on Sept. 14. He said in the paperwork that he resigned due to a hostile work environment and increasing pressure to lie about the timeline of events surrounding Prude’s death.

Prude was arrested and suffocated by police in the process on March 23. He died at Strong Memorial Hospital a week later on March 30.

After relatives of Prude and their lawyers released police body-worn camera footage of the arrest on Sept. 2, the notice of claim alleges, Warren and other players in her administration schemed to “scapegoat” Singletary.

Warren held a news conference the following day in which she harshly criticized Singletary and claimed he did not give her the full story of Prude’s death. The notice of claim alleges Singletary kept the mayor abreast of all the facts as they came to him and that, after the news conference, the mayor apologized to Singletary for publicly chastizing him.

“Mayor Warren pleaded with me stating in sum and substance ‘she was sorry, but that we needed to move forward and that we are married, that she and I are married in this together, attached at the hip and that she needs me,’” the notice of claim read.

Singletary is seeking compensation from the city for wrongful termination and defamation of character.

Responding to the allegations, city spokesperson Bridgette Burch-White said in a written statement that the notice of claim vindicates Warren and her timeline of events.

“It confirms the fact that Mayor Warren was never shown the body-worn camera footage of the incident by former chief Singletary,” Burch-White wrote. “It also confirms that Mayor Warren first saw the video on Aug. 4 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.”

The former chief has declined to respond to subpoenas in the City Council independent investigation, led by attorney Andrew Celli. Council President Loretta Scott filed a petition in state Supreme Court on Wednesday to compel Singletary to comply.

“Former Chief Singletary possesses unique information about the aftermath of Mr. Prude’s death, since he was the RPD’s commanding officer at the time of the relevant events,” the petition read. “One of the main issues of the inquiry is whether the RPD provided complete and accurate information to the Mayor and other city leaders at the time of Mr. Prude’s mental health arrest and death, which was later deemed a homicide by the medical examiner.”

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or
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