A whistleblowing police officer in Mount Vernon secretly recorded his colleagues admitting to false arrests, planting evidence, beatings, and other misdeeds, according to a new report.
For months, Gothamist/WNYC has been provided tapes by Mount Vernon Police officer Murashea Bovell, which includes statements and claims from active-duty officers within the department to various forms of corruption.
In the tapes, multiple officers refer to having witnessed or taken part in misconduct that includes framing and abusing suspects, collaborating with drug dealers to curry favor, and other corruption.
An audio clip of one of the tapes from Gothamist can be found here.
Some of the allegations also reportedly center on a detective who has been the subject of brutality and corruption claims in Mount Vernon for years.
The tapes were recorded between 2017 and 2020.
According to reports, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino’s Office was provided with some of the recordings last year, though no official charges have been brought up against any officers.
In a statement, Scarpino said that "just because someone comes forward with recordings, does not make a criminal case. You cannot prosecute someone on hearsay."
“We are here to protect our communities – to do what is fair and just," Scarpino said in a. "I have spent my career upholding the law and protecting the people of Westchester. I abhor police brutality, like the killing of George Floyd, and any other corruption by public servants.
Scarpino said that the information was brought to his office by Bovell and his attorney, and they have reviewed the audiotapes and followed through with an investigation. He noted that the tapes are not admissible as evidence before a grand jury or in court.
The DA noted that the FBI also looked into the case and told investigators that they did not find anything to prosecute."No witnesses have come forward. We do not consider the investigation closed because we would certainly speak with a witness who might come forward. But as of now, there is no case against individual officers based on Bovell’s recordings."
"Under my leadership, this office has been very aggressive about prosecuting police corruption," Scarpino added. "We have successfully prosecuted many police officers who have crossed the line and have a number of cases against police officers pending. We have zero-tolerance for any police misconduct."
Mimi Rocah, Scarpino’s challenger in this month’s Democratic primary for the DA’s seat, took a shot at Scarpini on Wednesday, June 3.
At a news conference, she called on New York State Attorney General Letitia James to take over the investigation into allegations of police corruption.
“By virtue of his own actions and inaction, DA Scarpino has lost all credibility in regard to his office’s ability to handle even the most egregious and obvious cases of police misconduct,” Rocah said in a statement.
“Scarpino knew about these allegations more than a year ago, but continued to use the involved officers in prosecutions — without making disclosures and potentially violating discovery laws.”
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard added, "We must hold cops accountable for their actions; that means working with the DA's office to prosecute officers who act outside the realm of the law."
This is a developing story. Check Daily Voice for updates.
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