By Peter Cherry
Rochester’s Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, along with his entire command staff, resigned on Tuesday in the wake of six straight nights of demonstrations following the release of video depicting the police murder of Daniel Prude, which happened earlier this year. On Friday night, 2,000 protesters took to the streets in a combative demonstration, burning several trash cans and bus stops before the police responded by deploying tear gas.
Over this past week, restaurants in the downtown district were stormed and shut down. Several windows of the Rochester City Hall were broken and trucks owned by U-Haul were set on fire. Crowds threw rocks and other debris at the police. Three officers were hospitalized.
The video released last week shows Prude, who was experiencing a mental health episode, having a ‘spit bag’ placed over his head by police and being pinned to the ground by the arresting officers, which put him into a coma. The family had him taken off of life support seven days later. The postmortem examination revealed that he had died from “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
For many, the delayed release of the video points to a cover-up. Police had originally told the mayor that Prude had died of a “drug overdose.”
On Monday, several religious leaders were sent to urge protesters to be ‘non-violent,’ representing one of the many occasions in which clergy are used by police to extinguish rebellion.
Reassuring the city’s ruling class as a response to Police Chief La’Ron and other’s resignations from the Rochester Police Department, Mayor Lovely Warning remarked that the “Rochester Police Department will continue to serve and protect our residents and our neighborhoods.” Demands from protesters for Mayor Lovely to resign have been painted onto streets in downtown Rochester as protests continue.