Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary claims Mayor Lovely Warren asked him to provide false and incomplete testimony in a City Council investigation into the Daniel Prude case.
The allegation, and Singletary’s detailed timeline of events, are spelled out in a Notice of Claim filed with the city.
Such notices indicate an intent to sue and typically are very brief, with a basic synopsis of the allegations being made. Singletary’s is 20-plus pages, providing the first accounting of his version of the events leading up to his departure.
Singletary has refused to answer questions of the City Council investigator who, late Wednesday, sought a court order to compel his testimony.
“I repeatedly refused to lie for Mayor Warren,” Singletary stated in a recently filed notice of claim to the city alleging defamation of character, hostile work environment and wrongful and retaliatory termination. “Pressure to support Mayor Warren’s narrative also came from other city officials.”
Singletary announced Sept. 8 that he would retire — leading a mass exodus of the department’s command staff a day after the mayor allegedly asked him to alter his testimony to support her narrative that she wasn’t given full and accurate information about how Prude died at the hands of police. Warren fired him a week later.
The city released a statement Wednesday night that read:
“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.”
Prude died in March after being restrained by police. A medical examiners report found the 41-year-old Chicago man lost oxygen to his brain while being pinned by officers as they waited for medical transport. His death was ruled a homicide. The state Attorney General’s Office is investigating the officers’ conduct and has convened a grand jury.
Attorney Andrew Celli, hired by City Council, filed a nine-page motion to compel Singletary to testify in his inquiry.
Celli subpoenaed Singletary and more than a dozen others, including Warren, weeks ago. Singletary is the only person who hasn’t complied, Celli wrote, describing his testimony as “critical to the investigation of the events following Mr. Prude’s death.”
City Council hired Celli on Sept. 15 to shepherd an exhaustive and independent investigation into the city’s administrative handling of the Prude case. Through Council, Celli was given the power to issue subpoenas to compel testimony.