Rochester police has announced its first ever female police chief after the departure of its command staff following protests over the death of Daniel Prude.
Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, a former lieutenant with the Rochester Police Department, was appointed as the interim chief of the addled force Saturday morning.
Mayor Lovely Warren announced her appointment in a press conference at City Hall.
This came after Warren dismissed former chief Le’Ron Singletary last week after he and several senior members of the force stood down in their masses following a backlash over Prude’s killing.
Outrage erupted last month when footage surfaced of black man Prude, who was suffering mental health issues, being suffocated by police officers in the streets of Rochester nearly six months ago.
Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, a former lieutenant with the Rochester Police Department, was appointed as the interim chief of the addled force Saturday morning
Herriott-Sullivan was appointed as the interim chief of the addled force at a press conference Saturday morning (pictured)
Warren said the appointment will have a ‘significant impact’ on Rochester and the police department.
‘Given all that has been happening here in our own community and across the nation, it is abundantly clear that traditional policing practices must be altered and improved to better serve and protect our citizens,’ she said.
‘I am confident she will bring a diff perspective and instill a fresh approach to policing both of which are very much needed in our city particularly at this difficult time.’
Warren said Herriott-Sullivan has shown throughout her career that she cares about the ‘well-being of our community’ and said she was part of the a critical response team investigation into the deaths of people in police custody.
Herriott-Sullivan will be the first woman in the history of the force to take up the top position.
She will start her new role from October 14 and is expected to serve until at least June 2021, when the city hopes to appoint someone permanent to the role.
The former cop worked at Rochester Police Department for 24 years before retiring in 2009.
Outrage erupted last month when footage surfaced of black man Prude, who was suffering mental health issues, being suffocated by police officers in the streets of Rochester nearly six months ago (pictured)
This came after Warren dismissed former chief Le’Ron Singletary (pictured) last week
She is currently the interim deputy executive director at the Rochester Housing Authority, and Deputy Executive Director of Rise Up Rochester, a nonprofit that provides support to the families of victims of violent crime.
Herriott-Sullivan said at the conference that ‘ironically, I left law enforcement because I wanted to have a bigger hand in keeping people out of jail.’
The news comes after Rochester police has been rocked by scandal following Prude’s death.
Former chief Le’Ron Singletary, who Warren said initially misled her about the circumstances of his death, was ousted by Warren last Monday.
Singletary had announced his retirement the week earlier with his last day supposed to be September 29.
Several other senior police officials announced they would retire or leave top command positions after they faced a backlash over their handling of Prude’s death.
But Warren said she had relieved Singletary of his duties effective September 21 as she revealed she had called for a federal investigation.
The city’s communications director Justin Roj and city corporation counsel Tim Curtin were also suspended without pay for 30 days.
Protests erupted in Rochester after a video of 41-year-old Prude’s death was made public on September 2.
A Rochester police officer holds Daniel Prude’s head down during the deadly encounter
In this March 23, 2020 file image made from police body camera video provided by Roth and Roth LLP, Rochester police officers prepare to load Daniel Prude into an ambulance in Rochester, N.Y.
Paramedics arrived as Prude was wrestled to the floor, still wearing the ‘spit hood’
Prude’s family released the footage and filed a civil lawsuit against the city, alleging its leaders and police department covered up the details of his death.
The shocking video shows cops covering Prude’s head in a hood and pushing his head into the ground, until he passed out and died.
Daniel Prude, 41, stopped breathing as Rochester police were restraining him in March
Officers responded to a 911 call from Prude’s brother on March 23 asking for help in dealing with his erratic behavior.
Prude, who had mental health issues, was naked in the street when cops arrived.
They handcuffed him and placed a ‘spit hood’ over his head.
They then pinned down on the ground, with his face pushed into the pavement, for two minutes.
Prude passed out and died a week later on March 30, when he was taken off life support.
An autopsy from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a homicide caused in part by ‘complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint’.
However no charges were brought against the officers and the video and incident was kept under wraps until Prude’s family released it earlier this month.
An investigation has now been launched by the New York State Attorney General’s Office into Prude’s death.
This story is developing