Mount Vernon – Music mogul, recording artist, entrepreneur and most important lifelong Mount Vernon resident, homeowner, and taxpayer Jeff Redd was racially profiled sitting in his car across the street from his house on Bedford Avenue, Thursday night. The Grammy, American Music, Soul Train, and Billboard Award winner was sitting in his car smoking a cigar and talking to his fiancee when officers of the Mount Vernon Police Department, rolled up on him demanding to see his ID and stating the house he was in front of had called in a complaint that someone was knocking on their doors and windows.
The offers never once went to the house, talk to the residents and walked around the perimeter of the home to check it out, just harassed Jeff and pulled off.
My last words to Jeff, Thursday morning was there’s always something going on in Mount Vernon, his response was always, little did either of us know we would be having this conversation. It saddens me to have to write this editorial about what transpired against him less than 24 hours later.
“I am a proud Mount Vernon resident who believes in my city and the people in it. I respect the 1st responders and the police who protect our city. I have family members who work as firemen and police so I have nothing but great respect for their service to our community. This leads me to my experience last night while sitting in my parked car across the street from my home,” the legendary R&B singer posted on his Facebook page Friday morning.
“Last night while sitting in my parked car talking on the phone I was approached by an officer Sartolini (not sure of the spelling) who informed me that the house I was sitting in front of called the precinct and said someone was knocking on their doors and windows. I said that I am sitting here talking to my fiancè. He asked did I do it and I said that I was talking on the phone to my fiancè and did nothing wrong. He then said that it is now an investigation and I need to give him my identification. I said that I am talking to my fiancè (who was listening to the entire exchange).
Then officer Hilton came to the passenger side and explained to me that I should comply and I explained to him that I am talking on the phone with my fiancè and did nothing wrong. He then said that if I didn’t give them my identification he would drag me out of the car through the window. By then my fiancè had hung up to call the precinct to complain. Officer Sartolini ran my plates and my identification and said that I was free to go. They got in their cars and never went up to the house to “investigate” or speak to anyone about the call. They didn’t even walk around the perimeter of the house to see if anyone was there. They just harassed me and left.
A few bad apples will not lead me to believe that our Mount Vernon police officers operate in this manner.
This is totally unacceptable…,” Redd continued on Facebook.
While most police officers do their job the right way and do not violate the policy or the law, we cannot be silent about the ones who feel there are above the law. We have seen far too many of these situations nationwide where police roll up harasses, racial profile and in some incidents where the interaction with law enforcement is escalated to the death of another unarmed Black Man at the hands of the police.
Had his fiancee not gotten off the phone with him and called the police station to complain or had Jeff Redd responded in frustration as many of us would understandably have done, instead of this editorial, I could be writing about another unarmed Black Man shot, shot at or killed by the police.
The officers did not see a legendary R&B singer, a homeowner or a taxpayer but a Black Man sitting in a nice car at night. When the attitude of the sole Black officer on the scene, Officer Hilton is the one threatening to “drag him out of the car through the window,” we have an even bigger cultural problem. Historically Black Officers tend to be the aggressor when accompanied with white officers, almost if they feel they have to prove something. Remember the words of Ice Cube in NWA’s controversial song F Tha Police;
And on the other hand, without a gun they can’t get none
But don’t let it be a black and a white one
‘Cause they’ll slam ya down to the street top
Black police showing out for the white cop
I often said I almost rather get pulled over by two white police officers than one white and one black. The incident that occurred on Thursday, January 30, 2020, proves not much has changed in the systematic racism that is still alive and well in policing communities of color, since Ice Cube first uttered those words in 1988.
If this was an investigation as was stated, why did the officers ever knock on the door to check on the residents of the home, once they realized Jeff Redd was not involved. Why did they not check the perimeter of the home to make sure everything was safe, the assailant, could have been hiding in the bushes waiting for the police to leave. The family could have been in further danger of a home invasion, burglary or worst. leave one to believe was there actually a call,
“They did none of that,” Jeff tells Black Westchester. “They just got in the car and left, so that was not an investigation.”
As they walked away Officer Hilton had some threatening parting words.
“They got in the car and Hilton played bully, the only black officer trying to impress the three white officers,” Jeff Redd shares with Black Westchester Friday morning. “At this point, I have to use my platform to shed light on this behavior… there wind up being three cops cars surrounding my car… I just took the compliant up there [MVPD], my cousin had an incident with the police three days ago… my thing is this the new policing to help move along the gentrification, I’ve seen this done. I’ve seen it done in Harlem. I’ve seen it done in Brooklyn. I’ve seen in done in the Bronx. So now you start harassing the people so much that they want to move out and then they move in, so what is that, why all of a sudden. I hear about a lot of racism going on in the police department but the last time I was pulled over by the cops I was 18-years-old driving in the car with my dancers going to a show pulled over on Gramatan Avenue. they stopped pulled us over, pulled us out the car and that was the worst feeling I ever felt in my life, I didn’t even tell my mother. That’s why last night was so significant to me cause here we go again. Its not fair that people have to endure that type of thing and I hearing this going on a lot.”
Westchester County District Attorneys’ office has long stated they would release a bad cops list. Black Westchester has been steadfast in reporting the alleged abuse and violations of departmental policies and procedures that have led to a multiple civil rights lawsuit throughout Westchester County. We question where is the accountability of the DA’s office because incidents like these are a normal recurrence to black and brown people in Westchester County.
Jeff Redd went down to the Mount Vernon Police Department around 11 am Friday morning and handed in his complaint to MVPD Commissioner Glenn Scott. Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on the developing story.