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Mimi Rocah Calls on DA Scarpino to End Conflict of Interest; Donate Campaign Cash from Police Unions to Bail Funds for Protesters

How do you hold police accountable: DA's not taking money from police unions is a good start

WESTCHESTER, NY – As the Democratic Primary approaches in less than three weeks, one of the most important races for persons of color in Westchester County is the District Attorney race.

Mimi Rocah, the 16-year federal prosecutor running for Westchester County District Attorney, today called on incumbent DA Tony Scarpino to join her in rejecting contributions from police unions, which create a clear conflict of interest for a DA and urged him to instead follow the lead of progressive elected officials who are donating past police contributions to bail funds for those protesting the murder of George Floyd.

Rocah’s challenge is in line with a coalition of current and former district attorneys who called on the American Bar Association and the California State Bar on Monday, June 1st. to pass an ethics rule prohibiting prosecutors from accepting political donations and endorsements from law enforcement agencies and police unions.

The request follows a weekend of mass demonstrations against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired and charged with third-degree murder.

“Since I launched my campaign, I have pledged to not accept campaign contributions from police unions or anyone that poses an obvious conflict of interest, including elected officials and defense attorneys with cases before the office I will lead. Meanwhile my opponent has steadfastly refused to accept such limitations,” said Rocah. “In this moment, true progressive leaders are recognizing why this is the right decision and donating past contributions to bail funds for protesters who are demanding justice for George Floyd. But not Tony Scarpino.”

“Now, with very serious questions about Mr. Scarpino’s alleged mishandling of an investigation into a potential pattern of police corruption in Mt. Vernon, it is more important than ever that he do the right thing and donate these funds to worthy organizations. The DA must be able to investigate police and politicians under their jurisdiction without any perception of undue influence,” she added.

According to the Board of Elections reports, Scarpino has collected $10,300 from a number of different police unions in his races for District Attorney, a practice rejected by progressive leaders. With protests against police violence engulfing the nation, many elected officials are donating the funds rather than using them in their campaigns. 

The district attorneys, who review use of force incidents and make charging decisions against police officers, must cut money and politics out of the equation to help build the public’s trust in the judicial system.

“Look, Scarpino has taken money from Jeff Klein and from the Conservative Party, and lots of donations from Trump supporters; that’s his call. But this money from police unions is different. It presents a real conflict of interest if we expect DAs to hold police officers accountable when they are guilty of misconduct, and if we expect the public to have any faith in the decisions of the DA,” Rocah shares with Black Westchester. “He needs to donate that money to bail funds, and he should do it now.” 

One of the many reasons Rocah received the Black Westchester endorsement is we need someone who is going to prosecute public corruption and her refusing any donations from, elected officials, police unions, and lawyers who have business before the DA’s office is putting your money where your mouth is. So we know she will not be beholden to elected officials who may need to be prosecuted, or police unions who represent police personnel she may have to prosecute.

Scarpino has failed to prosecute police criminality in multiple municipalities of Westchester County, especially in Mount Vernon, the city he calls home. It is time to vote for a candidate with prosecutorial experience who won’t just make excuses and pass the buck but prosecute police criminality, public and governmental corruption.

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About AJ Woodson (2279 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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