Damon K. Jones speaks on Mayor Richard Thomas sporting a Bulletproof Vest at a recent press conference on the Adam Bradley Show on WVOX 1460 AM, Thursday afternoon.
On Sunday, May 30th, Mayor Richard W. Thomas held a press conference, in front of OK Freddy’s Meat Market wearing a bulletproof vest after closing the business down for a third time despite Westchester County Judge Susan Cacase ordering the locks off.
After seeing the news reports and social media chatter, many residents wondered why would the Mayor wear a bullet proof vest? Was there a threat on his life?
Thomas donning of the vest is the first time in Mt. Vernon history that a Mayor has come out in the community with body armor. What is more disturbing is at the press conference, the Mayor’s Building Commissioner, who is a female, did not have a vest. If there was a threat, why wouldn’t he make sure she was protected as well since he requested she stand next to him? Wouldn’t her life have been in danger as well?
The bigger question is, what message is Mayor Thomas sending to the media about South 4th Avenue, OK Freddy’s Meat Market, the city of Mt. Vernon and the West Indian Community? What message is he sending to the world? What message is the mayor sending to future developers who he claims he is trying to attract to Mount Vernon? Who would want to invest such a dangerous town that the mayor need wear a bulletproof vest even though he had his detail and several MVPD officers present to protect him?
According to reports, Mayor Thomas reason to wear the vest was that he was advised, after the word came down about ‘some chatter.’ Sadly enough the advice wasn’t for anyone else speaking at the press conference. Nor did the advice stand for the following day when the mayor led the Memorial Day Parade that goes down the same street, in front of the same business, he did the press conference, the day before. Wouldn’t he had been in more danger then, with so many people attending the parade.
It is no secret that Mt. Vernon has been stereotyped as a poor, impoverished high crime-ridden community. Thomas wearing a bulletproof vest does not do much to change many people’s perspective, who do not live in Mt. Vernon. If anything, what his actions have done is reinforce those negative stereotype that people already have about the city.
As a Mayor, a leader, and as a Black man, it is your obligation to always put the best face on for the city and those who voted for you to change that perception, not reinforce it. Wearing a bulletproof vest to a press conference sends a shameful message to potential businesses and developers that what they might have heard of Mt. Vernon is true. Instead of placing padlocks on OK Freddy’s, it’s time for the Mayor to do a ‘Quality of Life’ evaluation of his own advisers.
Lastly we find it hypocritical that less than a mile north of OK Freddy’s is an adult entertainment establishment where at least two people have gotten killed and more than that shot or shot at who had just come from inside the famed white owned strip club, not to mention the many fights, vandalism of cars, loitering all hours of the night and the many drunken disorderly summons that have been handed out by the MVPD.
But for some reason Mayor Thomas’ Quality of Life Task Force did not evict the owner and employees from the establishment and place padlocks on their door. From recent news and police reports, Sue’s Rendezvous would appear to be a much more dangerous business and a clear and present danger to the community that the mayor claims OK Freddy’s is. The mayor is not having press conference in front of this clearly blatant blight on the Mount Vernon Community situated on a main thoroughfare of the city.
Mayor Thomas you have some explaining to do!