op-ed by Shanique Byrd
Did Mayor Lovely Warren make a necessary sacrifice in hopes of a re-election? The mayor, who is also facing an investigation for using campaign funds for personal use, is up for re-election, and grasping at straws to keep her position by throwing Chief La’Ron Singletary under the bus.
The man she selected as chief and routinely praised for a job well done, was placed on the chopping block during a press conference regarding body camera footage of Daniel Prude’s death. In the video, officers were shown mocking and suffocating the mentally ill man when a spit hood was placed over his head. Mr. Prude succumbed to his injuries shortly after this devastating encounter with police. According to reports, seven officers were suspended with pay six months after the March incident.
During the press conference, Warren attempted to distance herself from Singletary, who was noticeably absent. She accused him of being a liar in so many words, then pointed out that the officers responsible were “his officers” and she hadn’t watched the video until August 4, as she stood side by side with a cousin, who she claimed grandfather sued the Rochester Police Department decades ago. The mayor’s last-minute desperate act to connect her family to police brutality sparked few tears and little support, as protesters continue to clash with police across city lines.
Now, protesters, activists, community members and everyone in between are demanding the resignations of Mayor Lovely Warren & Chief La’Ron Singletary.
Warren, who is typically defiant, found herself surrounded by angry protesters, as she tried once again to connect with the community at UCLM. Protesters shouted wildly as the mayor briefly spoke, causing her and her entourage to retreat.
As we all impatiently wait for the necessary outcome of this tragic event, Warren held another press conference Sunday afternoon with Pastor Myra Brown & Chief Singletary, in an effort to redirect blame for the third time. Within several minutes, reporters asked Singletary if he mislead the mayor, his response was, “I provided factual information regarding the instance that I had at the time.” That is when Warren took the opportunity to blame COVID for her lack of inaction. She stated, after being advised of Mr. Prude’s death, Singletary “Did whatever he needed to do from that point forward, and I think that he has the document to show that he exercised and did what he needed to as chief from that point forward. Remember, we were in the middle of COVID. We had a lot going on in this city and across this country at that time…”
Unfortunately, Warren’s chances of being re-elected is fleeting. The city is going up in flames and the mayor is focused on playing the blame game. RPD is being accused of conducting one of the most violent resistance to protesters the country has ever seen, yet the mayor is focused on why she isn’t responsible. At this point, critics believe her mismanagement of campaign funds, the deception to the community and her disloyalty to her chief, makes her better suited for the Rochester Board of Education, not the head of the city of Rochester.
Shanique Byrd is the founder of Tocsin Magazine, a social justice publication & trusted media source. The author of the children’s book, “The Salad Bowl,” the Rochester native is an alumni of Monroe Community College and a dedicated advocate for prison reform. Over the last 10 years, Ms. Byrd has interviewed countless entertainers, politicians, and business professionals. In her spare time, she enjoys responding to letters, emails, and phone calls from men and women currently serving time behind bars. Get more information about her at tocsinmag.com
(The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)