U. Reneé Hall, the first Black woman to lead the Dallas police force, on Tuesday became the latest police chief to resign amid protests that have swept the country since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
Hall submitted her resignation the same day the police chief in Rochester, New York, and several other high-ranking officials announced their departure from the department following unrest over the death of Daniel Prude.
Prude, a Black man, died of asphyxiation after officers pinned him to the ground while restraining him in an incident that bore resemblance to Floyd’s death.
As police departments faced criticism over the use of tear gas, pepper spray and other means to control protests, police chiefs in major cities including Seattle, Atlanta, Portland and Louisville, Kentucky, have been fired, resigned or abruptly retired.
Here is a list of the chiefs who have left their positions amid a summer of racial reckoning.
U. Reneé Hall submitted her resignation Tuesday but agreed to stay on through the end of the year. Her resignation letter didn’t give a reason for stepping down.
During Hall’s tenure, Dallas officer Amber Guyger was convicted of murder in the high-profile shooting of her neighbor, Botham Jean, in 2018. And even before the coronavirus pandemic, the city was struggling with an increase in violent crime.
Dallas city councilors and the mayor have recently been critical of Hall’s leadership during the protests over racial justice; in once incident, police arrested hundreds of people who’d marched onto a city bridge, only to drop charges against nearly all of them.
Rochester, New York
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, 40, announced his retirement from the police department on Sept. 8. He became chief in 2019 and came under scrutiny over the death of Daniel Prude, who died in March but whose case wasn’t made public until September. Many community activists have called for his resignation.
The officers’ interaction with Prude was captured on police body-worn-camera video that depicts officers holding Prude prone and forcing his head and chest into the pavement for several minutes until, apparently unnoticed by the officers, he stops breathing.
Rochester, New York: Police chief announces retirement in wake of Daniel Prude’s death
In addition to Singletary’s retirement, the deputy chief who oversees the department’s operations also said he was retiring, and two others resigned their command positions and returned to lieutenant rank.
Carmen Best, the first Black woman to lead the Seattle Police Department, announced her retirement Aug. 11 after the City Council voted to cut her salary and that of her command staff while trimming the department’s budget by close to $4 million and reducing the force by as many as 100 officers.
Best and the SPD were criticized for their handling of protests that followed Floyd’s killing, specifically the use of tear gas and other less-than-lethal crowd-control methods. With activists demanding more accountability and a new approach to law enforcement across the country, protesters recently marched to her home.
Mayor Jenny Durkan, who picked Best to lead the department in 2018, appointed Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz as the interim chief.
Steve Anderson, the chief of the Metro Nashville Police Department, had planned to retire this fall but the mayor’s office suddenly announced that Aug. 6 would be his last day on the job.
It’s unclear what caused the departure, but he drew criticism from activists and Nashville council members during his time as chief. Anderson previously announced his retirement in June amid ongoing calls for police reform in Nashville and on the heels of a controversial decision to increase funding for the city’s police department. Supporters maintain he led the department with a steady hand.
MNPD Deputy Chief John Drake assumed command of the department as interim chief as the city continues its national search for Anderson’s replacement.
Greenbrier, Tennessee: Officer resigns following Facebook comment on George Floyd’s death
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales was demoted to captain on Aug. 6, less than a year after he was appointed to a four-year term as chief by the city’s Fire and Police Commission.
Morales had previously been ordered to publicly explain why the department used tear gas during recent civil unrest, explain investigations and discipline in specific cases, and provide updates on hiring and promotions.
Commissioners unanimously voted to demote him, with some accusing him of repeatedly lying.
Assistant Chief Michael Brunson Sr. was named acting chief by unanimous vote, following the department’s chain-of-command.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Police chief demoted after questions over use of tear gas, pepper spray at protests
Fanwood, New Jersey
Police Chief Richard Trigo stepped down on July 13 amid controversy over alleged comments about a former county prosecutor who was Asian American and New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general.
A news release from the county prosecutor said Trigo advised the police department and prosecutor’s office late July 10 that he would be stepping down effective the following Monday. However, his attorney said Trigo had planned to retire in September.
“Chief Trigo did not resign or quit,” Joshua McMahon wrote. “Any assertion to the contrary is categorically and demonstrably false. Chief Trigo had previously begun the process to retire on September 1, 2020 and, until that time, elected to take leave to handle a family-related health issue.”
Audio recordings posted to YouTube surfaced in which Trigo allegedly made racist comments in referring to state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, a Sikh-American, and sexist comments in referring to former acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park.
Fanwood, New Jersey: Police chief out after alleged racist, sexist comments surface
Las Cruces, New Mexico
La Cruces Police Chief Patrick Gallagher, who became chief in 2018, was planning to retire in December after the city manager left. But “recent events” also played a factor in his decision, according to Gallagher’s letter to the police department.
Gallagher has had eight fatal police encounters since he took over.
Most recently, on Feb. 29, Antonio Valenzuela was killed after officer Christopher Smelser held him in a chokehold. Smelser and another officer fought with Valenzuela after he ran from officers during a traffic stop. Valenzuela’s death was ruled a homicide and the the officer was fired and charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Las Cruces police banned the use of chokeholds immediately after Valenzuela’s death.
In mid-June, city lawmakers called for more transparency about police policy and more oversight. Demonstrators have gathered near police headquarters to rally in support of law enforcement officers. Clashes between police and protesters in Las Cruces have been minimal.
The city said Deputy Chief of Administrative Support Services Miguel Dominguez will serve as interim chief of the Las Cruces Police Department until the city permanently fills the position this fall.
Todd Chamberlain resigned as police chief of Los Angeles schools on July 1 after the school board voted to cut its police budget by a third and redirected the money to “support African American student achievement to the extent of the law,” according to the resolution.
As a result, 65 officers would be laid off and nearly 40 vacant positions won’t be filled, Chamberlain told the school board. The school board also called for officers to give up their uniforms and patrol off campus.
Meanwhile, city leaders voted to slash the Los Angeles Police budget by $150 million, reducing the number of officers to a level not seen for more than a decade amid nationwide demands to shift money away from law enforcement agencies during America’s reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice.
LAPD funding slashed by $150 million: Money to be rerouted to community programs
Tucson’s police chief offered to resign in June after video footage showed an April incident that led to the death of a man in police custody, leading to questions about how officers handled the incident.
The chief, Chris Magnus, said that while the three police officers involved in the incident – who have since resigned – have not yet been found criminally responsible in the death of 27-year-old Carlos Ingram Lopez, an investigation found that they violated department policies during the arrest.
The Tuscon city manager rejected the chief’s offer of resignation.
‘Troubled and outraged’: Tucson police chief resigns after video released of man who died in custody
Prince George’s County, Maryland
Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski stepped down on June 18 after leading the department since 2016, multiple news outlets reported.
The resignation comes after the American Civil Liberties Union detailed what it called discriminatory practices and retaliation by the department in a 94-page report.
Thirteen black and Hispanic officers of the Prince George’s Police Department had asked the ACLU to file a lawsuit on their behalf in 2018. The officers said white officers would make racist remarks or use racial slurs but wouldn’t be punished, while minority officers who reported the incidents would be punished, according to the ACLU.
Hector Velez is now serving as interim police chief, according to the department’s website.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced city Police Chief William Smith’s resignation at a news conference June 16, the Associated Press reported.
The announcement came days after a police SUV struck several Richmond protesters blocking its path near the Robert E. Lee statue Saturday night and two weeks after police dispensed tear gas into a crowd of peaceful protesters more than 20 minutes before curfew.
Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields stepped down on June 13 following the death of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old man who was shot by an officer while fleeing during a struggle at a Wendy’s drive-thru late Friday night.
Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, who was involved in the death of Brooks, was fired and another was placed on administrative duty the following day.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced the police chief’s resignation, said Shields would continue in a different role “to be determined” in the police department. Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Rodney Bryant will serve as the interim chief.
Rayshard Brooks death: Atlanta police officer fired; police chief steps down
Jami Resch announced on June 8 she was stepping down as chief of the Police Bureau in Portland, Oregon, amid protests against police brutality, ending her tenure after less than six months.
Chuck Lovell, acting captain of the bureau’s Community Services Division, was named chief. Lovell, 46, is the bureau’s fourth African American police chief, the Oregonian reported.
Resch, who is white, said she asked Lovell to take her place, calling him “the exact right person at the exact right moment.” The Oregonian reported Lovell was hired by the Police Bureau in 2002.
Portland, Oregon: Police chief resigns after 6 months amid George Floyd protests
On June 1, Mayor Greg Fischer fired Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad after learning that officers at the fatal shooting of popular barbecue restaurant owner David McAtee did not have their body cameras turned on, violating policy that has been the subject of much scrutiny in recent weeks.
Both LMPD officers and National Guard soldiers fired their weapons, killing McAtee after officials said someone shot at LMPD officers from a parking lot.
Conrad, who served as chief for eight years, had said he would retire at the end of June amid increasing pressure in the wake of a different fatal police shooting: that of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician who was killed March 13 in her apartment.
Yvette Gentry, a former Louisville Metro Police deputy chief, will take over as interim chief of the embattled police force Oct. 1 and says she is ready to “move the needle forward.” The 50-year-old Louisville native will be the first woman, first Black woman and the third African American to serve as chief of the Louisville Metro Police.
Contributing: Jordan Culver, Jorge Ortiz, Elinor Aspegren, Grace Hauck, Nicquel Terry Ellis, USA TODAY; Gina Barton and Ashley Luthern. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Emily Wilder and Audrey Jensen, Arizona Republic; Darcy Costello, Louisville Courier Journal; Will Cleveland, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Lucas Peerman, Las Cruces Sun-News; Suzanne Russell, Bridgewater Courier News; Mike Reicher, and Dave Boucher, The Tennessean; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Floyd death: US police chiefs fired, resign or abruptly retire