The internal investigation into police corruption and misconduct within a Westchester police department led to the suspension of narcotics officers who allegedly aided a known drug dealer and used excessive force.
Last July, the Mount Vernon Police Department received audiotapes from an officer who alleged wrongdoing in the Narcotics Squad, which were then sent to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office for further investigation.
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said on Thursday, Feb. 18 that at the direction of Police Commissioner Glenn Scott, the department transcribed the tapes and launched an internal investigation in August 2020.
Patterson-Howard said that the department has since cleared Sgt. Sean Fegan of all charges of misconduct, and the department has suspended officer John Campo, pending further investigation.
The investigation into Mount Vernon Police Officer Carmelo Antonini, who allegedly falsely arrested a man late last year, is ongoing.
Civil rights attorney William Wagstaff III will serve as a special prosecutor going forward as more information comes from investigations into Campo and officer Ryan Hughes, who was arrested for allegedly using excessive force last year.
According to Patterson-Howard, “since January 2020, the City of Mount Vernon has instituted numerous reforms to align with modern policing and a community-centered approach to public safety.”
Scott disbanded the narcotics unit in March last year and “has embraced novel approaches to discovery and criminal justice reform.”
“It has been a difficult year,” Patterson-Howard said. “It’s been a year of challenge, learning, and growth and we are committed to working with the PBA, law enforcement partners, and the community to improve communication, transparency, and trust.
“We are excited about the work of the Police Reform commission and look forward to implementing our CCRB and enhancing the community’s understanding of procedural justice. We continue to take steps towards chartering a new future in policing for Mount Vernon.”
Scott added: “Since day one, I’ve been committed to changing the culture and direction of this department. We have embraced reform, eliminated outdated policies, and instituted new procedures that emphasize transparency and accountability.”
“The department has acknowledged the lack of trust expressed by the alleged victims of misconduct and has forwarded the investigation to the Westchester County DA so that it may conduct an independent review,” he added. “Our department remains committed to doing good police work and protecting and serving this community.”
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