LULAC Women’s Leader Supports Female Police Chief In NY State
Vice-President of Nation’s Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Says Rochester Can Begin with a New Slate
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today issued a statement affirming the decision by Rochester, New York Mayor Lovely Warren to appoint the city’s first female police chief after the death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year old black man who died at the hands of officers March 31, 2020.
“This is historic and sends an important message to law enforcement departments across the country,” says Elsie Valdes-Ramos, LULAC National Vice-President for Women. “The appointment of Herriot-Sullivan is the right one because she is experienced and qualified. She is only the second black woman to ever achieve the rank of Lieutenant on the force and served in the Rochester police department for 24 years before retiring in 2009. It is sad to learn that in 2020, only 12% of the nation’s police officers are women and just 3% are police chiefs. LULAC National Women’s Commission believes strongly that gender should not be a barrier to serving our communities. In fact, in this case, Chief Cynthia Herriot-Sullivan represents a plus and we look forward to working with her,” says Valdes-Ramos.
Prude died of asphyxiation, one week after police placed a hood over his head and shoved his face into the pavement for two minutes. An investigation following Prude’s death found he was suffering the effects of PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic drug. His family said Prude was having a mental breakdown. Police stated Prude became agitated and told them he had COVID-19 which is why they placed a spit hood over his head as they subdued him. Prude was unarmed.
Mayor Lovely Warren accepted the resignation of police chief, La’Ron D. Singletary, deputy chief Joseph Morabito, a commander, as well as the demotions of another deputy chief and commander. Rochester saw several nights of disturbances over Prude’s death and the Mayor promised more mental health resources and a realignment of the city’s crisis intervention team. Chief Herriot-Sullivan starts her job October 14, 2020.
“The appointment of Chief Herriot-Sullivan comes at a time when many people are calling for the defunding of police departments because of tragedies like that of Mr. Prude,” says Ralina Cardona, LULAC National Vice-President for the Northeast United States. “LULAC favors taking more of a stance to redirect federal, state and local budgets towards prioritizing monies for mental health facilities and social workers who can assist, instead of calling police to situations where someone may be exhibiting psychotic behavior. Or, having a social worker who can accompany the officers to these types of calls could help produce a different outcome. Daniel could well still be alive today. We will just never know,” she added.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/