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Mayor Thomas Snubs Christopher Ridley’s Family At County Legislator Meeting. POLITICS OVER POLICE?

Mayor Thomas talks about Memorial Field and leaves before vote on Christopher Ridley Monument without even saying a word to the family.

WHITE PLAINS, NY – The Westchester County Board of Legislators held a meeting on Monday to vote on suing the city of Mount Vernon regarding Memorial Field. During the meeting, the board also voted on approving a $150,000 memorial for slain MVPD Det. Christopher Ridley on Court Street in White Plains. Ridley was “off-duty” and fatally shot by Westchester County Police 10 years ago.

Mayor Richard W. Thomas left the County building after a lengthy non factor speech regarding Memorial Field and didn’t stay and support the Ridley family nor the officers of that serve the city of Mount Vernon. The Mayor left without even saying a word to the family.

I spoke with one resident, who thought its was an insult to the family and to the police officers in Mount Vernon.

I tried reaching out to the mayor to find out why he didn’t attend the vote, but got no response. He has blocked me completely from all city government social media pages.

It was back in January of 2008, off-duty MVPD Officer Ridley saw a man beating up another man while sitting in his car in White Plains, he went after the suspect. Det. Ridley was 23-years-old at the time and in plainclothes when he was shot by Westchester County Police, with itchy trigger fingers. The police arrived just as Ridley “held” a gun and tried to detain another man. A year later, outside of the County Department of Social Services building at 85 Court St. the plaza was renamed “Christopher Ridley Plaza” and a wooden plaque was setup in 2009. But, now that the county approved the $150,000 memorial, three days before his dad’s birthday, it will replace that plaque with a permanent memorial.

Unfortunately, the grand jury decided NOT to indict the officers and a federal jury in a civil suit found the officers NOT liable for Ridley’s death.

Rightfully so, Ridley was posthumously promoted to detective after his death.

Stanley Ridley, Det. Ridley’s father and a staple in the Mount Vernon community, attended the legislative meeting with Chris’ mom, family and fellow members of the Mount Vernon Police Department. Stanley said after the vote, that the memorial would be a symbol of hope in a time where police and community relations have sometimes been strained.

“A lot of people forget so this memorial is for people that have forgotten there are heroes,” he went on to say “My son did the right thing on that day and people need to remember that.”

Did the mayor forget? Damon Jones, also a family friend said it was a sideways act to speak on a day that the city was celebrating the life of Det. Ridley. It was totally disrespectful that he would use that day to talk about a damm field!

“The Mayor wasn’t in the rotunda after the vote where people congratulated the family. This vote was historical that it’s the first in history to honor a black officer that was unjustly killed by his counterparts.” Mr. Jones said after the vote. He went on to say that by not being there the Mayor failed the family and the true sacrifice of every Law Enforcement Officer in Mount Vernon and the entire state.

Mayor Thomas – who campaigned on Public Safety and used Christopher Ridley’s name several times – is losing support day by day. County Executive George Latimer is also fed up with the mayor. How he is putting politics over people and apparently even the very COPS – who serve the city he brags he was born and bred in – too.

Even if Mayor Thomas doesn’t remember, Mount Vernon will never forget Chris. He’s our hero.

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About A'tif Khalil (18 Articles)
A'tif K. Coleman is a lifelong resident of Mount Vernon who has become a Mount Vernon Columnist for Black Westchester. A'tif's passion and love of the city he was born and bred drives him to wanting to inform the residents and speak truth to power and corruption. Mr. Coleman is also one half of the founders of the Save Mount Vernon movement.
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