(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators take part in a protest in Rochester, New York
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The mayor of Rochester, New York named the city’s first female police chief on Saturday, weeks after firing the previous chief amid protests over the death of a Black man in police custody.
Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, a top official at the Rochester Housing Authority who previously served as a city police officer for more than 20 years, takes over as interim head of the police department on Oct. 14, Mayor Lovely Warren said.
“As the first woman to serve in this role, I am confident she will bring a different perspective and instill a fresh approach to policing, which are very much needed in our city at this particular time,” Warren said in a statement.
The mayor fired the last chief, La’Ron Singletary, on Sept. 14 as racial justice demonstrations boiled over the department’s handling of the asphyxiation death in March of Daniel Prude, 41, who was having a psychotic episode when he was arrested.
Warren also suspended without pay for 30 days two city officials amid questions about a possible cover-up of the events around Prude’s death, and has called for a federal investigation into whether Prude’s civil rights were violated. [nL1N2GB28X]
Video footage, released by Prude’s family, showed officers using a mesh hood and pinning him to the pavement, in a scene reminiscent of George Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody.
Seven Rochester police officers involved in the arrest were suspended on Sept. 3. The medical examiner ruled Prude’s death a homicide by asphyxiation, with the drug PCP a contributing factor.
Rochester names first female police chief in wake of racial justice protests
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