“In my opinion Sam Rivers actions were both reprehensible and irresponsible,” Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest D. Davis tells Black Westchester via telephone Friday afternoon when we called for a statement about Samuel L. Rivers being arrested by MVPD Tuesday after videotaping officers during a traffic stop.
We call the Mount Vernon Police Department several times first to give them a chance to respond, after being put on hold a few times we were informed we needed to speak to the mayor’s office. Shari L. Harris, Special Assistant to the Mayor informed us the mayor wasn’t in when we called but she would have him call when he returned. Within the hour he called Black Westchester’s Editor-In-Chief AJ Woodson to give a statement.
When asked were River’s right violated as has been stated, Davis responded “I don’t know, we’re looking into that.” But he did say he felt Rivers escalated the situation to something it didn’t need to be.
Davis wouldn’t confirm or deny if Officer Green (the African-American officer in video who handcuffed and threw Sam to the ground) was suspended or on modify duty, but source tell us he has not been. The mayor simply stated “The case is being investigated.” He wouldn’t confirm or deny if MVPD was handling the investigation internally, when asked, he told BW, “The officer should be afforded the same rights and due process as Rivers or any citizen would be afforded” and repeated that “an investigation is underway.”
Davis did however share his thoughts about Rivers who he referred to as a provocateur, an agitator and a minion who consistent attacks of the mayor are politically based since Davis’ firing of Commissioner Bell, “He is an agitator who just wants to make the city look bad, and make it hard for me to succeed. I have seen him in action first hand at some of my own press conferences. He isn’t interested in the truth, just bringing the city down.”
Mayor Davis did confirm that any citizen has a right to videotape police officers performing their duties. When asked could he explain the process for citizens, is there a safe distance one has to be, he responded, “I don’t know.”
He did state that he supports citizens right to videotape officers and if this had been a situation where the officer was caught doing wrong, actions would be taking and he would be in full support of the tape. “But I do not stand behind agitators who only want to bring the city down,” he said in reference to Sam and others who he did not name.
While the conversation left more questions than answers for this reporter, one thing is clear, there is no love lost from the mayor for Rivers as growing tension builds between them. Rivers has been very vocal in calling for the mayors resignation after the tax evasion plea and has been very outspoken on his disapproval of the mayors performance. As further developments come in, we will report them as always. This is far from over and could be another thorn in the side of the Davis Administration.