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Community Activist Arrested By MVPD While Videotaping Traffic Stop

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[Mount Vernon, NY] While videotaping what appeared to be a routine traffic stop, by the Mount Vernon Police Department Tuesday night around 8pm, Community Activist Samuel L. Rivers was arrested. Even though it is legal to videotape a police officer performing his duties in public from a safe distance in New York as long as you ‘do not improperly interfere with police work’ according to The Warshawsky Law Firm located on the 59th floor of the Empire State Building (on the firm’s blog post ‘Is It Legal To Videotape The Police In New York?), Samuel L. Rivers was arrested without any commands to step away, or turn off his camera (which an officer does not have the right to do.) Officer Greene, an African-American MVPD officer (identified by Rivers) you will see in the videotape just pulls out his handcuffs and tells Rivers to turn around and put his hands behind his back and then was placed under arrest. The charges when asked were harassing the officer while he was doing his job.

“I was making sure persons pulled over rights were not being violated,” Rivers tells exclusively to Black Westchester. “when I was arrested and attacked by Officer Greene.”

After a few hours, with no charges being filed, Rivers was released. Stay Tuned as we update the story once we hear back from the MVPD and the Mayor’s office. See video below.


AJ Woodson

AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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Pombo Joe November 15, 2014 at 4:34 PM

I am all for keeping people in line crooked people should keep police in check but dont antagonize them. record them from a distance and let them get caught out there.

Darryl X Jackson November 15, 2014 at 4:35 PM

I agree with Pombo Joe i mean like i said there are real issues between the cops and the community im the son of a retired cop so i know there are good and bad cops of all races because i would be just as afraid of an all black police force also because who becomes the target then? The nypd pba just admitted that the number one reason they are against the new stop and frisk and marijuana laws is because it will cause a slow down of work…wtf…meaning they will have less work to do….isn’t that a good thing? they rather us kill each other or bust teens smoking weed and ruin their record for their own sick numbers game

Gwendolyn Cahill November 15, 2014 at 4:32 PM

activist he is a realtor

Pombo Joe November 15, 2014 at 4:33 PM

SO what, a real activist does things to help the community and its people not pester the cops for self glory. I could see if they were beating up and or arresting the pulled over car for no reason be he instigated this to be on the news.

Darryl X Jackson November 15, 2014 at 4:29 PM

You didn’t hear about the cop who shot a man 9 times and killed him on stevens ave a couple of weeks ago…he was put on desk duty when young was mayor for nearly killing a 12 year old boy at davis school and mayor davis put his ass back on the street after a hefty campaign contribution from said cops family… question why do we continue to allow white cops with mental problems continue to police our neighborhoods they prove time and time again that they can’t be trusted to protect a people that you believe to be criminal at nature….most treat our community like were all thugs and criminals….im more scared of police than crime

Darryl X Jackson November 15, 2014 at 4:31 PM

my problem is this notion that police are super human and makes no mistakes….athe the same time their are double standards…..a white cop kills an unarmmed black teen and they are not fired..but a hispanic female cop was just let go off the NYPD for dating a felon in the past and having contact with family members who are convicted felons…..???… you can play judge and jury and decide that an unarmed guy should die for selling a bag of pot but if your brother been to jail and you give him a hug and you will be fired…meanwhile mr gardner in Staten Island deserve to die by the NYPD for selling loose cigarettes…which if bloombucks didn’t make it 14 dollars for a pack that situation wouldn’t even occured

Smart man November 15, 2014 at 3:27 AM

*******This comment was taken down because of the language used. We encourage all to comment, openly and honest however you feel but we ask you keep it respectful and refrain from vulger language, thank you!*****

Muskogee El November 14, 2014 at 7:43 AM

And you know what is saddening? The Vernon is only 4sq miles, so how can the COMMUNITY not be actively combating any issues with the MVPD?? I can see why Furgerson is how it is….black town with blacks that don’t have a hold on holding public officials in check. They are here to serve not slay.

Sheldon Ferguson November 13, 2014 at 10:53 PM

So when does filming in public becoming harassment? So this is where our tax money is going arresting innocent people? I’m tired of these corrupt officers and politicians. Officers are suppose to be public servants not bullies. This is why the public is losing respect for police officers. This officer decides just because he carries a hand gun and wears a badge he can arrest anyone he wants. No warning was issued to Samuel he just pulls out his cuffs and places Sam under arrest, this is dead wrong!! These cops are bullies with badges! I hope this clown ass cop loses his job.

Samuel Rivers November 13, 2014 at 10:27 PM

I appreciate all of the comments that were left on this page. To be clear, one can film and do whatever to any official that gets paid by the taxpayer. You can tell the police officer to go to hell, etc. Freedom of speech…..No laws were violated whatsoever. I have been arrested falsely twice two times by the same agency and the outcome was the same both times. CASE DISMISSED. There are lawsuits against the City Of Mount Vernon currently. And also lets be clear, while at the station detained in a cell, Lt. Hunce personally came to the holding area and told me that this should have never happened, and that the arresting officer made a mistake. I would say a pretty damn costly mistake. Public servants are allowed to be harrassed and are subject to a greater degree of harassment than that of an average citizen. The courts have ruled on this and this was upheld on appeal. Mount Vernon police officers are poorly trained. How did this particular officer pass the psychiatric evaluation? I will tell you how. Because his dad was a good friend of Mayor Davis and his son who arrested me was handpicked over others that scored higher on the test. Mayor Davis’ act of nepotism will cost Mount Vernon taxpayers for years to come. Everyone should not direct their anger towards me, but towards the institutiion that allows their police officers to go rogue and violate citizens’ civil rights. The only way they learn is by hitting them in the pockets. Maybe when property taxes escalate to $20,000 per house in this City, residents will finally wake up. Until then it will be business as usual. The end.

Rhonda Pinder November 14, 2014 at 12:32 AM

I’m curious what their hats had to do with the stop. And why was he threatening to call IAB ….. about the officers hats? I thought that was strange. Unfortunately the officer allowed the gentleman to hook him. It worked. Samuel rivers said enough to bait at least one officers. Being trained on agitators. Basically people that find or come upon police activity. Then begins to antagonize the officer in hopes of hooking the officer so they may be arrested. Then later they skip to the media with their footage, oh and a lawyer, in hopes to sue. Yup! Looks about right. So now my question to Mr Samuel….. since he’s answering questions, what had he witnessed the officers doing prior to the car stop? What criminal act had he witnessed the officers commit regarding the car stop? And why the unnecessary commentary? Has he viewed any videos or maybe went to special classes on how to Properly film police activity? There’s a class for that giving by Cop watch I believe. They video, without interactions with the officers doing their job. I take it he hasn’t. I am curious why he appeared angry at these officers specially if he had no prior incidents with them in particular? Why not just film. Let them do their jobs. Insure rights of the motorist was intact. So all parties could go home. Why , successfully, draw their attention on you, Mr Rivers? Just curious. And don’t miss understand, not saying the officer was right. But I also believe you knew exactly what you were doing and succeeded. You’ll be even more successful in making a name for yourself if this makes it on PIX 11 news. They Love THIS stuff. Everyone is sure to know who you are then. Specially you being an activist and all. Yup! Normally how it works.

Rhonda Pinder November 14, 2014 at 12:33 AM

And so I’m clear. I’m all for recording officers. It’s the sign of the times. As long as you are genuinely recording for the better interest of the person being detained by police, and not your own. Again not saying the officer was right in his actions.

Donald Johnson November 14, 2014 at 7:25 AM

if they were in violation of departmental regulations they were in the wrong. they had no right to flex, and he had every right to report them. break a small rule , you will break a big rule,.. they should have remained professional, or just obeyed their own department rules and had on their head covers,.. simple as that. if you want others to obey the rules, you should obey them too. period. they should have never put hands on that man,.. i hope he sues their ass for violating his rights,… fuck the police.

Wilfred Dennis November 14, 2014 at 7:26 AM

There are plenty of good Cops who cares about the protection of the people. However, there are some who need to be stripped of their badge because to them being a Police Officers is about being a bully.

Muskogee El November 14, 2014 at 7:28 AM

When bad cops get off easy for ANYTHING, they eventually will try to do something bigger….. The PD must be strict in every sense of the word. This isn’t some sanitation job where you can just throw ish around. If they are not disciplined enough to be professional, fire them. Period.

Lou Frusciante November 13, 2014 at 9:22 PM

How many of you would like to be questioned about doing your job when you are working. You would say WTF & call it harassment. Film what you want, stay quiet & make a complaint of you have a problem.

ken November 13, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Just giving money away that could be used in a more sustainable fashion.

Anissa Vincent November 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM

These people put a gun and badge on, and all of a sudden the respect for others goes out the window! How do u represent that badge u wear?? any generation coming up would not want to be a part of such a corrupt organization. If Mr. rivers was being annoying or distracting, he should have been asked to quietly step back and remain quiet but he can continue to film..period..if he refused or if HE tried to escalate the situation, then i can see you placing him under arrest, but since when has it been a crime to film, be annoying, or say what you want to say?? if being annoying or a jerk was a crime..the jails would be full and not with Brothers either!!!

Kevin Mattavous November 13, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Believe it not there are cops who care my uncle worked at Edenwald projects for 30 years and he was tuff but fair and tried to do right…we need more cops like that today!

Adam Dixon November 13, 2014 at 6:17 PM

No doubt it could and should have been handled differently. He wanted a story and got a bonus by becoming the story. I say he is a jerk because let that guy pull a gun an blast one of the cops or even him and it’s a different outcome and it could have happened. I say he was interfering but he should have been asked to step back and stop pacing!

Kevin Mattavous November 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

It’s not a crime to be a jerk but when a cop is making a traffic stop at night it filled with tension because it could get dangerous fast, you can’t see in the car you’ve seen training videos of cops getting shot during stops…you don’t know who is coming up on you just being a jerk or trying to get you hurt so I know I would have aggressively got the scene under control quick…I was focused on doing my job and getting home safe to my family

Anissa Vincent November 13, 2014 at 6:20 PM

3 cops shining the light in a car, and now they turn around to take a man down in handcuffs that is filming..and meanwhile..who is watching the people in the car?? when all that had to be said was move back, sir and keep it down i feel u are interfering..but instead you get on your BULLY and take a man down in handcuffs which causes ur other officers to help and react, so who is putting whom in danger?? what happened to use ur words and stop profiling..that assuming these young black guys have a gun, and i gotta get home to my wife mentality is the problem…

Rhonda Pinder November 13, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Hey….. I’m all for this “activist” actions of checking on police officers as long as he gets out there and record all drug and criminal activity specially along third ave. And then send that somewhere. as long as he records and reports the drug dealers and other community nuances fine. But something tells me his only goal is to make police officers look like criminals.

Adam Dixon November 13, 2014 at 5:22 PM

I don’t like the headline, it makes it sound like he was just filming and they came over and harassed him!@!

Kevin Mattavous November 13, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Looks like he got arrested for being a jerk…first he comes over and whistles…then he talks about filming an illegal stop making sure they are not violating anyone’s rights…then he says there’s a lot of that going on in MV…Then he moves in close and asks them about not wearing their hats…all of that is annoying and distracting…and could be dangerous to the officers as someone could’ve pulled a gun while he was carrying on, it’s all fun and games until somebody gets shot…if I was working that stop I would have stopped everything asked my partners to watch the car and then instructed the gentlemen to move back to a safe distance so I could do my job, which would have been the professional thing to do…unfortunately the officer lost his cool and then took the guy down…all of this was unavoidable…take your video, keep back and let me do my job!

Rosalind Aarons November 13, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Kevin, sounds like you know how to conduct yourself in a professional manner

Kevin Mattavous November 13, 2014 at 5:21 PM

I had good training

AJ Woodson November 13, 2014 at 5:24 PM

are you on the job Kevin Mattavous? I agree with you if could have been avoided, he gave Sam no commands just pulled out the cuffs and took him down

Kevin Mattavous November 13, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Back in the day Westchester County Police

AJ Woodson November 13, 2014 at 5:34 PM

I thank you Kevin Mattavous for sharing from a law enforcement perspective

Adam Dixon November 13, 2014 at 5:10 PM

What was up with the whistling? Was he trying to be noticed?

Muskogee El November 13, 2014 at 5:10 PM

It doesn’t surprise me if they used a Negroe officer..

J. Hatch November 13, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Black Police Showing Out For The White Cops – Ice Cube (F*ck Tha Police)

Muskogee El November 13, 2014 at 5:09 PM

While one could argue the harassment or verbal distraction, one can also argue freedom of speech, the freedom to record, and the freedom from arrest without probable cause. If the officers felt he was distracting them, they could have politely asked him to be quiet.

Sakina Daniel November 13, 2014 at 5:09 PM

These police think they can talk and do anything and its ok. I hope he press charges on them. Its not far at all

Dwayne Brown November 13, 2014 at 5:09 PM

That was stupid the officer just cost the tax payer some money. If he knows anything about mount vernon over the last few years he should know that’s not going to stop Sam.

kasimallah November 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

I’ll always support the brothers. I am no fan of the police and with that said, I think that he didn’t need to be whistling and making unwanted comments about people’s rights being violated. He provoked them. They didn’t have to arrest him but, I think they did it because he was being an ass about it.

Roy D Pestone November 13, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Well, if he had kept his f***ing mouth shut I would have been on his side…. now, not so much

k.mayyavous November 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Lots of confusion about how to conduct yourself when dealing with the police
he should have been further back than he was
looks to me like he was trying to provoke the cops by talking about hats and saying he was making sure they were not violating people rights
he should have taken the video quietly not said anything to the officers and he probably would not have been arrested…instead he was being a wise guy and provoked the response (which was wrong on he cops side, they should have been more professional and ignored him).
good thing they didn’t bust his head open for fun…sometimes they do that


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