Mount Vernon— New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today that he’s using his new power as a special prosecutor to investigate the death of a woman who died in police custody last week. Mount Vernon’s Raynette Turner was the fifth African-American woman in the country known to have died in police custody in the month of July.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement today on the death of Raynette Turner:
“My office’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit will investigate the death of Raynette Turner, consistent with Executive Order No. 147 and a conforming order to be issued by the Governor at my request.”
In response to new developments related to the death of Mrs. Raynette Turner, an African-American mother of 8 who died in the custody of the Mt. Vernon Police Department, Mt Vernon Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Richard Thomas issued the following statement:
“The sentiment continues to boomerang throughout Mount Vernon, and in many other Black communities across the country, that we must continue to question and insist on independent investigations when people die while in police custody, especially in the case of Mrs. Raynette Turner, the fifth African-American woman in the U.S. to die in police custody within the past month.
“From the outset of this tragic loss of life, I have demanded that the process of getting to the truth be clear and transparent; however, this has not been the case. Mt. Vernon officials have a history of avoiding honest dialogue based on facts, and while I applaud the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s decision to investigate this matter, I support the call for the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney General Lorretta Lynch to lead the investigation to ensure Mrs. Turner’s death is completely independent and properly examined.
“All must understand that deep roots of distrust fuel the concern of the Black community toward the Justice System and confirmation that vital details related to the health and treatment of Mrs. Turner was overlooked while in custody heightens these concerns. The pattern and practice of Ernest Davis’ administration to flout the law only makes a bad situation worse, escalating the need for an independent inquiry.
It’s the first case Schneiderman has taken on since Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the executive order giving him the authority to investigate when people die in encounters with police.