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Police & Fire

DA Calls For DOJ To Investigate Police Department In Westchester

Mount Vernon Police Department.
Mount Vernon Police Department. Photo Credit: Daily Voice

The Westchester County District Attorney is calling on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch an investigation into the Mount Vernon Police Department.

DA Mimi Rocah announced on Friday, April 30 that she is calling on the DOs to investigate the department for pervasive and persistent alleged civil rights violations including unlawful strip searches, excessive use of force, and other misconduct.

Rocah noted that her office is in the process of multiple criminal investigations involving certain Mount Vernon police officers.

“In the course of those investigations, based largely on publicly available information, we have found disturbing allegations of patterns of inappropriate and potentially unlawful conduct by several former and current members of the Mount Vernon Police Department,” she said. “We have provided information that we gathered in this respect to DOJ.”

According to Rocah, a DOJ investigation would “focus on broader issues of civil rather than criminal law, which do not typically fall under the purview of the DA’s Office.”

She said that her office would continue to work with the Mount Vernon Police Department to investigate and prosecute crimes in the city, and said this ongoing collaboration would continue without disruption during a DOJ investigation.

“All Westchester residents need to have confidence that they will be treated fairly and equitably,” she said. “Public trust in our criminal justice system is critical to public safety and we must strengthen that confidence through any tools available to us.” 

Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard stated that since taking office, her “mandate has been transformation and accountability across city agencies including the police department.”

“We are working hard to dismantle systemic issues and reform policing to ensure that our community is a safe place for all,” she said. “Our administration referred multiple cases to the District Attorney for review and welcome DA Rocah’s request that DOJ add its resources to identify and address these issues for the benefit of our community.”

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