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City Council President Griffith Calls Press Conference About NYPD Activity in Mount Vernon

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Mount Vernon — For the second time in just over two weeks, the NYPD has come into the City of Mount Vernon without contacting the MVPD that they are in their jurisdiction.

On Friday, August 28th, a gun-buy gone wrong that started off as an undercover operation in the Bronx, then spilled over the a quiet Mount Vernon neighborhood and led to Felix Kumi, a 61-year-old innocent bystander being killed in the fracas, just blocks from his home. Then on Tuesday, September 15th officers believed to be part of the NYPD Warrant Squad claim to have a warrant, allegedly broke through the door on the second floor of a three-story Mt. Vernon house, pushed the resident living there to the ground, search the apartment and then left when they heard MVPD were en-route.

Mount Vernon City Council President plans to have the Council look into the legality of police entering areas outside their jurisdiction as well as the legal rights of homeowners and resident. Griffith is calling a press conference regarding NYPD activity in Mount Vernon, Wednesday at 12 noon on the steps of City Hall.

“The Mount Vernon City Council will be looking into the happenings of New York City Police coming into the city of Mount Vernon without notifying the local authorities and making drastic errors in their approach and practices,” Council President Griffith says in a statement. ‘This statement comes on the heel of an incident that occurred last Tuesday where it is reported that plain-clothed NYPD officers broke into the Mt. Vernon home of Geneva and Richard Smith, pushed Mrs. Smith to the floor and searched the apartment, while failing to display a warrant or proof of their identity.”

New Rochelle-based civil rights attorney who represents the Smiths states, “We are requesting that the MVPD conducts a full and thorough investigation into this matter and report back to the family with their findings.” Geneva and Bishop R. Smith, who moved from South Carolina and have been living in Mt. Vernon for just eight months, will be present at the pres conference along with their attorney.

Geneva Smith said after this frightful incident, she wants to move back to South Carolina, “I don’t feel safe anymore, in my apartment,” Mrs. Smith tells BW. “I want to go back home, there are so many stories I hear and so many things that go on with police and people disguised as police, I really am scared for my life, I don’t know what might happen.”

According to Mrs. Smith in an exclusive BW interview, the officers never once showed her a warrant, just a picture of a suspect they were looking for, which she told the officers, she had never seen before.

“The fact that NYPD officers showed no proper warrant to enter the Smiths home,” NY Rep of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, Damon K. Jones tells BW, “forcefully entering the Smiths’ home even after Mr. Smith directed then not to enter by phone. Even after informing them, that MVPD was called to the scene and they fled the scene like criminals before the arrival of MVPD, leads us to question their actions as no less than criminal.”

Council President Griffith adds, ‘Following the NYPD attack of innocent bystander, tennis star James Blake, Mount Vernon is concerned about NYC’s mistaken use of force.” In light of the NYPD’s recent activity within the City of Mt. Vernon, “The Biggest concern is that NYC is not conferring with our local authorities before they overstep their bounds, and in two recent cases, the NYPD failed at its intent, with grave results.”

Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Richard Thomas who just recently won the Democratic Nomination in the September 10th Primary, said he would work toward building a better working relationship with the neighboring law enforcement agencies.

“If successful in the November general election, as Mayor,” Thomas tells BW, “I will engage New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton in direct discussions on law enforcement matters related to the City of Mt. Vernon to ensure that the civil rights of our residents are respected and the public is protected at all times. Additionally, I will engage Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz and other neighboring law enforcement agencies in routine discussions to better coordinate public safety efforts and ensure accountability. I invite Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton, and Bronx Borough President Diaz to discuss this incident and develop coordination policies between our cities across the board.”

Damon J. Jones who will also be at the press conference adds, “As a national organization of Law Enforcement Professionals, we are in full support of City Council President Marcus Griffith, the Smith Family and their Attorney Jared Rice’s request for a full investigation into the actions of NYPD unlawfully entering and searching the Smiths home in Mt. Vernon.”

The press conference will be held on:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 12 noon
on the steps of City Hall
One Roosevelt Square, Mount Vernon, NY 10550

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