Rochester Police Chief resigns

The images had circulated massively after their disclosure last week: a hooded man, handcuffed and naked, lying on the ground and surrounded by police officers in the city of Rochester, in New York, in the United States. This is Daniel Prude, 41, who, at the end of a week of coma (which occurred during his arrest), would die on March 30.

On Tuesday, September 8, the city’s police chief, La’Ron Singletary, announced he was leaving his post. In a statement, he considers that what has been said of his supposed lack of initiative, even of his alleged attempt to cover the case after the tragedy is “A distorted presentation”, and that he is the victim of “Politicization” folder. “I am a man of integrity and I will not stand idly by when outside forces try to discredit me”, explained the policeman, also African-American. Aged 40, La’Ron Singletary was appointed, in April 2019, chief of the Rochester police: a position in which he spent twenty months, before exercising his right to retirement.

Broadcast of the video of the arrest

Last week several of Mr Singletary’s men were charged with causing the death by suffocation in March of Daniel Prude. Mr. Prude, who was in the throes of a psychotic episode at the time of his arrest, died on March 30 in hospital, without ever coming out of a coma. The scandal erupted after the family broadcast a video of the arrest. Naked in the street when the police arrived, Daniel Prude was unarmed. He was quickly handcuffed, before one of the officers present put a hood over his head to prevent him from spitting on the police because he said he had contracted the coronavirus.

The seven officers present were all suspended pending the findings of the investigation by New York State Attorney Letitia James. Mme James announced on Saturday that she would convene a grand jury, a step ahead of a possible indictment. The forensic institute concluded, after an autopsy, that the death of Daniel Prude was a homicide, linked to a “Asphyxiation following a physical constraint”.

Read also Investigation into the conditions of the arrest and death of a black man in the United States in March

Protests in New York and Rochester

The scandal led to protests in Rochester as well as New York. The latter demand that justice be done, and that reforms be undertaken in the police of Rochester.

The death of Daniel Prude echoes those of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor (also African-Americans): deaths also occurring at the end of a violent arrest, and which have sparked hundreds of demonstrations in the United States since May.

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The World with AFP


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