Where there is no Justice, there is no freedom. When people lose trust in authority and those who are in charge of the authority, they lose faith in the process of the system of Justice that has been their right through the Constitution of the United States. To demand freedom is to demand justice. When there is no justice in the land, a man’s freedom is threatened. Freedom and justice are interdependent. When a man has no protection under the law it is difficult for him to make others recognize him. Many people have questioned are poor white people and people of color truly recognized and respected in this so–called justice system in Westchester County.
We have watched our Westchester Justice System blatantly defy logic and true transparency and accountability of the law for too long. Westchester County Justice Officials, Law Enforcement Officials, and Elected Politicians have continued to apply band-aid solutions to a wound in our law enforcement institution that clearly needs a surgeon. It is a true American tragedy when you cannot rely on your local justice system for protection of your civil and human rights. Transparency and accountability when they are linked to violations of people’s civil and human rights have been thrown out the door for friendships and political gain. What you do find is the violated are prosecuted and requesting intervention from higher governing bodies like the Department of Justice. When these rights are violated consistently, and create disadvantages for some, more than others, then you have a society where the people lose trust, they lose hope, and they lose faith in ALL institutions.
How many times shall we see our mothers’, fathers’, sisters’ and brothers’ civil and human rights violated and our Westchester Counties Justice System “Eyes Wide Shut” on the issue? It has been said that “The Lady Justice” is blind but in Westchester “Lady Justice” is peeking under her blindfold to see what color, race, immigration or economic status you are before a decision is made. As a result, the masses of the collateral damage are victims that can’t afford good lawyers or will never be recognized by our Westchester media; their cries of injustice will continue to go unheard.
This Westchester County Justice System has a history of prosecuting victims of Police Brutality like Naimah Yancy, Dara Massey, Primivita Diaz, and Lance Cooper, who all were found innocent by trial. Unfortunately, when this cancer rises to the level that media pays attention again, they always report the effect but never question the cause and why. We have found that controversy sells media but logic and dialog don’t fit the status quo agenda.
We have watched as the victims of this Westchester County injustice syndrome fall victim to character assassination like Detective Christopher Ridley, who was shot and killed while making an off off-duty arrest without any independent investigation of his death. NYPD Sergeant Kenny Kessiedu who was assaulted on his way to work by Yonkers uniform police officers and a year later found not guilty of any charges brought by the District Attorney’s office. If our Westchester County Justice system can create an atmosphere with leaks that will create doubt on the victims that are in law enforcement, then any young man, especially, a young black man does not have a chance for any real transparency of the law in Westchester County.
Even the NAACP expressed its disappointment in the actions by the District Attorney and the evasive right of obtaining Justice for African-Americans in Westchester County. They also noted that the District Attorney has reneged on the Pamphlet and fairly investigating police encounters with civilians.
The re-occurrence of the same problems that have occurred in the Detective Christopher Ridley, NYPD Sergeant Kenny Kessiedu and Danroy Henry cases, reveal a disturbing pattern in different municipalities in Westchester County. These problems underscore the need for a systematic change and true accountability of transgressions of law enforcement agencies in Westchester County. When allegations’ of police brutality reaches this level, it’s no longer a single municipality problem; it becomes a Westchester problem, then every taxpayer in Westchester County’s problem.
The incident of the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. – black man, veteran, retired Correction Officer, called “nigger” and shot and killed by White Plains Police when he refused to open his door when his medical alert alerted the police by accident. The District Attorney Janet Difiore refused to label the killing a hate crime. She is quoted in saying, ” the use of the word “nigger” was a tactic to distract Mr. Chamberlain.”
Of course, there are many in this Justice System that truly believes in the core tenants of Justice. At the end of the day the rank and file of our Justice System are victims as well because of fear of losing a paycheck, a promotion or so-called respect of their comrades; they play along with this dismal downfall of trust in this system we call Justice. All along forgetting the oath we take to uphold the State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States and its citizens. These lawyers, officers and officials work within hierarchies that have put personal and political agendas before real freedom, truth, and justice for the citizens they have sworn to serve.
This continuous influx of abuse of law-abiding citizens gives a black eye to the entire law enforcement institution, not just those rouge officers who disobey proper protocol and procedure. Without true transparency and accountability of law enforcement, the citizens lose trust in the uniform and badge. Then the law enforcement management is in amazement when the communities they serve, especially the communities of color, do not cooperate with them. Why should they? If you can’t have true accountability within your own, then how can you be fair and just with the communities you claim to serve?
The Police Department is the primary entry point to the justice system and the part in closest contact with the public. The investigation and prosecution should be an issue of Justice and “Fair Dealing”. This means no bias or the presumption of bias in our Justice System. Clearly the investigation of the shooting of DJ Henry, Detective Ridley and the prosecution of NYPD Sergeant Kenny Kessiedu will continue to fuel the growing doubt among black, white, brown and yellow if there is any true Justice in the Westchester County Justice System