Editor’s note (9/14/20): This article is part of our continued efforts to cover the protests in Rochester. As we are students first, we are unable to capture everything, every night. For all of our News coverage on these events search the tag “Daniel Prude.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary officially announced his retirement from the Rochester Police Department (RPD) after almost a week of protests following the release of body camera footage of Daniel Prude’s death.
Rochester residents and demonstrators met the news of Police Chief La’Ron Singletary’s retirement positively, and cited Singletary’s retirement and the convening of a grand Jury as two major victories of the movement.
“This is another example of the power of the people: In [less than] a week of us being out here on the streets, two of our demands [were] met,” junior and Free the People Roc organizer Indy Maring told the Campus Times on Tuesday. “We will continue to be out here on the streets until we have the rest of them met.”
Calls for Singletary’s resignation began as soon as the body camera footage was released on Sept. 2. Many accused the City of Rochester of trying to cover up the murder, though the RPD denied that a coverup ever existed.
“The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity,” Singletary said in a press statement last Tuesday. “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.” The RPD did not respond to a request for comment.
“This man retired today with a pension,” New York Civil Liberties Union Lead Organizer Ashley Gantt said to a crowd of demonstrators on Jefferson Ave last Tuesday night. “So, keep that in the back of your head — we still have more work to do.”
Like every evening, demonstrators stated their list of demands on Tuesday night, and said that Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren should be the next to resign. Protestors painted the word “resign” in front of City Hall and chanted “Lovely, fuck you!” and “Lovely gotta go!”
Rochester resident Alex Reliy said that Mayor Warren needed to be replaced. “She needs to resign […] we need to hold new elections because we cannot just have someone replace her and not know their politics or policies,” Reliy said.
Demonstrators told the CT that they would not stop until all demands are met: fire and prosecute officers involved in Prude’s murder; drop charges on protestors who were arrested; defund and demilitarize RPD; pass Daniel’s law which prohibits police from responding to mental health crisis calls; and the resignations of Mayor Warren and Deputy Mayor Smith.
“We lost a couple of battles, but it seems like we are winning the war,” Rochester resident Ralph Stevens said. “Our voice[s] will get heard. It always work[s] out — the protesters always win.”