Rochester announces interim police chief

Rochester announces interim police chief
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced that Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan would take over as the city's interim police chief on Oct. 14. (Adrian Kraus/Associated Press)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The mayor of Rochester, New York, named an interim police chief Saturday, naming the city’s first woman to take the post in the aftermath of the controversial death of Daniel Prude earlier this year.

Mayor Lovely Warren announced that Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, a former member of the Rochester Police Department, will take over as interim chief beginning Oct. 14, the Democrat and Chronicle reported. Herriott-Sullivan, who worked for the department for 24 years before her retirement in 2009, will replace La’Ron Singletary, who was fired by Warren on Sept. 14 after announcing his resignation a week earlier, the newspaper reported.

The entire command staff resigned earlier this month in the wake of revelations of how the department handled the in-custody, asphyxiation death of Prude in late March, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

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“I am confident that (Herriott-Sullivan) will bring a different perspective, and instill a fresh approach to policing, both of which are very much needed in our city -- particularly at this particular time,” Warren said at a news conference.

Warren also appointed Capt. Gabriel Person as Deputy Police Chief and promoted Officer Moses Robinson to a role in the command staff, WROC reported.

Prude, 41, of Chicago, died March 30 of asphyxiation in Rochester, a week after he was pinned to the ground by police officers. The video and documents related to the case were released by Prude’s family, which had made a public records request, WROC reported. Rochester police officers who found Prude running naked down a street put a “spit hood” over his head and then held him to the ground.

Prude’s brother had called 911 seeking help for his brother in the early morning hours of March, the television station reported.

Warren suspended seven police officers with pay after the video was released: Officers Mark Vaughn, Troy Taladay, Paul Ricotta, Francisco Santiago, Andrew Specksgoor, Josiah Harris, and Sgt. Michael Magri, WROC reported. New York Attorney General Letitia James also got involved in the case, promising that she would form a grand jury and conduct an “exhaustive investigation” into Prude’s death.

Herriott-Sullivan’s last appointment in the department before her retirement was as an executive lieutenant in the chief’s office. In that role she oversaw Neighborhood Empowerment Teams and served on the critical response team that investigated in-custody deaths, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

According to a resume in Herriott-Sullivan’s Justice Speaker’s Institute profile, she served with the Rochester Police Department from 1985 to 2009. She also spent two years as the deputy director of the National Drug Court Institute in Virginia. Since 2014 Herriott-Sullivan was CEO with Rise Up Rochester and also oversaw programs, financial management, community relations and board administration.