Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. Friday, May 29th joining 39 other prosecutors from across the U.S. in a statement to condemn the murder of George Floyd and police violence. Westchester County District Attorney is not among the DA and prosecutors who are publicly condemning the summary execution of George Floyd.
“We demand accountability from police and our fellow prosecutors, and we demand systemic change – and commit to bringing about these changes in our own communities,” the prosecutors wrote. “There have been some strides made, but not nearly enough as the body count at the hands of violent police officers continues to rise in cities across this nation.”
On his website, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. says he “has dedicated his career to protecting our community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice.” But after a careful examination of his website and social media, I could not find Scarpino who is running for re-election posting anything condemnation of the summary execution of George Floyd.
Wait I did find something, Friday afternoon, Scarpino, Jr. attended the silent vigil for George Floyd and in a statement after the event, DA Scarpino said, “As both a citizen and as District Attorney–I am just as outraged as everyone who attended this vigil and across the country–in the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Those images of a police officer kneeling on a man’s neck are disgusting. What we saw was reprehensible. That is not who we are as law enforcement nor as citizens. I am calling for justice to be done swiftly and completely.”
But that was a nice soundbite for the media during his campaign for re-election but he did not join his counterparts nationwide to take a united stance. I have no reason to believe he is outraged at something that happened 1,210.8 miles away and he has never publicly condemned anything in his jurisdiction except his opponent. I also cannot find any statement condemning any of the police brutality or killing of African-Americans by law enforcement in Westchester. While several other them happened before he took office, he has never looked into any of the cases to see what his administration could do to bring justice in any of the still open cases.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired four officers within 24 hours, and the heads of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association – both of whom usually remain silent in these cases – promptly issued statements of support for that move and denounced the prolonged suffocation of Floyd captured on cellphone video and soon streamed around the world.
“The death of Mr. Floyd is deeply disturbing and should be of concern to all Americans,” said the Major Cities Chiefs, headed by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. “The officers’ actions are inconsistent with the training and protocols of our profession and MCCA commends Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for his swift and decisive action to terminate the employment of the officers involved.”
The National Black Police Association (NBPA) released a statement demanding true justice in the case of George Floyd on Wednesday, May 28th. The NBPA calls on police chiefs and executives, and their partners in social justice and criminal justice reform to take heed and appropriate action now!
“Our power is in our collective missions. This is not a time to remain silent, nor is it a time to just give polite platitudes and statements that we are watching or continue to repeat that officers must be held accountable. We already know that. What are we going to do about law enforcement abuses and continued trauma? What will we do to ensure complete and true justice in this and every other case that we “monitor?” Our communities are calling on us, and the NBPA is calling on you, like us, to step up your game.”
Black Westchester has long been critical of Scarpino‘s lack of prosecuting corruption in Westchester government and several police departments in Westchester. While he did release a weakly worded statement after a vigil for George Floyd after the media asked him for a statement. He did not have to be asked when he reached out to Black Westchester to release statements criticized by his opponent, Democrat Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor.
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard held a virtual town hall Friday on Facebook discussing and condemning the killing of George Floyd and discussing police criminality in Westchester. On the panel discussion Activist Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., publicly explained how the Westchester District Attorney’s office has constantly failed him in his quest for justice for his father, Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr, who was killed by the White Plains Police.
When I relieved the press release that the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys signed the statement, I was not surprised to see Scarpino’s name visibly absent. I did however see a strongly worded statement condemning the killing of George Floyd by his opponent Mimi Rocah. I would not have been surprised to see her name on that joint statement if she was in office. Another thing to consider when casting your vote for the most important election in the county and that’s real talk.