*****Updated Friday, March 25, 2022, at 10:44AM to included comment from DA *****
While very little is still known, sources tell Black Westchester that Mount Vernon City Court Judge William Edwards dismissed the case of Mount Vernon Police Officer Ryan Hughes before the jury could deliberate, Thursday.
On Thursday, June 11, 2020, just days before the democratic primary, Former Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino’s office arrested MVPD Officer Ryan Hughes for using excessive force on a black woman while in custody (see video below). Officer Hughes was charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree in connection the Aug. 24, 2019, incident.
Hughes was accused of pushing the woman in his custody into an interview room with such force that she tripped over a garbage can and stumbled across the room. The video (below) shows her hitting a wall made of cinderblock and falling to the ground. Because she was handcuffed, she was unable to break her fall with her hands. Her left foot caught the garbage can and she stumbled into the 6-foot room, folding to her side after apparently hitting the wall.
Shortly after reading our article on the arrest, Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Glen Scott shared what he called ‘a factual breakdown on Officer Hughes excessive force case‘ with Black Westchester to clear up any questions about what actually went down.
Lack of evidence was cited as to why Judge Edwards dismissed this controversial case that received outrage from the community when the video surfaced. Sources have revealed to BW even the jury was confused as to why they could not deliberate.
We reached out to PBA President Nicholas Mastrogiorgio seen here with Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard at Mount Vernon Day in Boca Raton, Monday, March 21st. who posted on Facebook he was pleased with the decision.
“You had to be in the trial to really witness it, but the prosecution’s case was so weak, and the witnesses were terrible,” PBA President Mastrogiorgio shared with Black Westchester. “The victim herself admitted to tripping over the box and resisting going into the room. After the prosecution rested the defense attorney asked for a dismissal because the facts presented to the court did not rise to the level of reckless endangerment. For it to rise to reckless endangerment there needs to be a risk of serious physical injury and nothing that was shown in the prosecution’s case even came close to that. It was clear from another video in the cell block not the body Cam that the victim did in fact get her feet Tangled in that garbage pail and that was a huge contributing factor into her falling. She never suffered any injury and never mentioned being hurt in any way shape or form at any time after the incident until approached five or six months later by internal affairs. I guess all of these facts put together Judge Edwards just felt it was the right thing to do to Grant the dismissal.”
The Westchester DA’s office disagrees;
“The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office believes we presented legally sufficient evidence to allow for the jury to render a verdict,” District Attorney Mimi Rocah shared with Black Westchester. “We are disappointed that the jury was denied the opportunity by the Court to consider the evidence in this case–which included a videotape of the incident–and denied the opportunity to provide justice for the community.”
Will this case has been dismissed by Judge Edwards, it is unclear if the DOJ civil pattern or practice investigation into the City of Mount Vernon and the Mount Vernon Police Department – which is still ongoing – will continue to look into this case.
Stay tune to Black Westchester for more of this developing story. Check back and refresh the page, we will be continuously updating this post as information comes in.