Various Law Enforcement Officers, Police Reform and community advocates stand with Mount Vernon police officer Murashea “Mike” Bovell in calling on Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino to recuse himself from an investigation they say he has mishandled since September 2018, when Bovell, a whistleblower police officer reported corruption in the Mount Vernon Police Department.
Bovell, an officer with the Mount Vernon Police Department since 2007 secretly recorded his colleagues acknowledging false arrests, evidence planting and beatings, as first reported by Gothamist/WNYC reported George Joseph. He then brought the recordings to Scarpino, who Bovell’s attorney, Joseph Murray alleges swept the incident under the rug.
At a press conference (see video below) Friday, September 24th in front of the Westchester County Courthouse, where Scarpino’s office is located. They requested DA Scarpino – who lost the June Democratic Primary to Mimi Rocah – recuse himself from the investigation and have the Honorable Kathie E. Davidson, administrative judge for New York’s 9th Judicial District, appoint a special district attorney to investigate. Murray said they can not wait until Rocah – who does not have a challenger in the November 3rd General Election, due to Republican opponent Bruce Bendish dropping out the race – takes office in January.
“Now that Bovell’s recordings have been published, his life is in danger every day he puts on that uniform and goes on patrol,” Murray shared with Black Westchester, when asked why is having the press conference now. “Bovell cannot wait until a new district attorney is installed in January.”
Jesse Van Lew of Save Mount Vernon, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. Co-founder of Westchester Coalition of Police Reform (WCPR), NYPD LT Edwin Raymond, NYPD SGT Steven Lee, former NYPD Detective Robert Francis, Greenburgh District Leader and community activist Clifton Abrams and Vincent Capers of the Grand Council of Guardians came out to stand up with and speak in support of Officer Bovell.
“One of the most common statements you’ll find from the people is, ‘Where are the good officers”‘ ‘Where are the officers who speak out?’ ‘Where are the officers that are willing to go against the grain, upset the apple cart, go against the Blue Wall?'” NYPD LT. Edwin Raymond said at presser. “And I have to call activist groups to task also. Cause again, its always said where are the good cops? Here you have a good cop standing right here… This man should be celebrated. You don’t know how difficult it is to be in law enforcement and speak the truth. Here you have an officer willing to speak the truth, he need the support.”
After reporting corruption and misconduct in the MVPD, Bovell said he has been retaliated against while doing his job, including being denied medical benefits for a line-of-duty knee injury, given lower performance evaluations, denied promotion to detective, forced to take “bogus” fitness duty exams, had his guns taken away, placed on unpaid leave pending termination and more, according to his attorney, Joseph Murray.
“The allegations that District Attorney Scarpino and this Office are not conducting a full and thorough investigation are false,” said Helen Jonsen, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office said in a statement. “This Office continues to investigate but will not jeopardize the work by commenting publicly on the substance of the investigation.”
The District Administrative Judge is appointed to provide the administrative support and supervision to all trial courts and agencies within his/her district. The District Administrative Judge is assisted in that effort by the District Executive and support staff. The district administrative office is responsible for personnel, purchasing, budgets, revenue, computer automation, court interpreters, court security, & case management. Davidson was appointed Administrative Judge, 9th Judicial District, by Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks in 2018.
In a statement, Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, told The Gothamist, “Any applications made to the Court regarding the appointment of a special prosecutor will be handled in due course as all similar matters are considered.”
Officer Bovell – who speakers say should be celebrated – and his Attorney Joseph Murray appeared on Black Westchester’s People Before Politics Radio, Sunday, December 8, 2019 for the first time to tell his story.