The Justice Department announced an investigation into the patterns and practices of the Mount Vernon Police Department, Friday afternoon. Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division held a press conference 1pm Friday, December 3 at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, located at 1 St. Andrew’s Plaza to announce the civil pattern or practice investigation into the City of Mount Vernon and the Mount Vernon Police Department, (see video of press conference below).
Black Westchester and the Gothamist have extensively covered many of the case the DOJ referred to in their press conference, but the coverage fell on deaf ears of the former District Attorney. Unlike her predecessor, Anthony Scarpino, who appeared to turn a blind eye, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah commends DOJ for opening this investigation. Rocah looked into what Scarpino ignored and found enough to refer practices of the MVPD to the DOJ.
“I commend the Department of Justice and the Southern District of New York for dedicating substantial federal resources to vigorously defend the civil rights laws through a comprehensive investigation of possible violations of civil liberties by the Mount Vernon Police Department,” Rocah shared with Black Westchester. “Shortly after taking office, I referred certain practices of the MVPD to DOJ. Today’s announcement demonstrates that parallel parts of the justice system operate to help create a safe environment for our communities. Out of respect for the federal investigation, my office will have no further comment at this time.”
Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division said at the presser that they reached out to both Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and the Police Commissioner, Friday morning, both offered full cooperation with the investigation.
“The members of the Mount Vernon Police Department welcome any investigation into our patterns and practices, and we will cooperate in any way necessary,” MVPD PBA President Nicholas Mastrogiorgio shared with Black Westchester.
Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard has informed Black Westchester she will be having a press conference Friday at 4pm.
If you missed the Justice Department press conference announcing an investigation into the patterns and practices of the Mount Vernon Police Department and the City of Mount Vernon, you can view it in its entirety here.
Stay Tuned to Black Westchester for much more on this developing story. Keep clicking back on this story as it will be updated frequently!