Valhalla — A Westchester County Corrections Officer was suspended without pay Monday for allegedly posting racist images and messages on Facebook in a group page used by correction officers. Several of his fellow officers are calling for Officer Lemon to be fired.
“You can’t disrespect Black Lives Matter WITHOUT disrespecting the BLACK officers that work with you everyday,” 27 year WCDOC veteran, Damon K. Jones and NY Rep of BLEA tells BW. “Whether you realize it or not many of us are Black before we are blue.”
Justin Pruyne, the Deputy Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Correction, told The Journal News/Lohud that the suspension was issued. The action came within two hours after inquiries were made about the allegations.
“I can advise that the correction officer has been suspended without pay by the Department of Correction pending our investigation (which is confidential under the state’s privacy laws governing law enforcement personnel matters),” Pruyne said in a statement.
“They are dealing with the situation very aggressively,” said Alonzo West, President of the Westchester County Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, who said he spoke with the Department of Correction on Monday afternoon. “They opened an investigation and are moving very quickly to get all the facts to address (the) situation — so that we don’t have a situation.”
One image is a black and white diagram of “Black Lives Matter Olympics” depicting “drive-by shooting,” “cop killing” and “stolen bike riding.” The other post shows a photo of Sylville K. Smith, the 23-year-old Milwaukee man who was shot by police after pulling a gun on an officer at a traffic stop on Aug. 13, setting off hours of violent unrest in that city. The image, posted Aug. 19, shows Smith pointing a semi-automatic handgun at the screen, with the caption “Second Place. Milwaukee, WI Quick Draw Competition.”
Nearly half of the 720 corrections officers at Westchester County Jail in Valhalla are minorities as is a large portion of the inmate population, union president West said.
Last month, BW reported White Police Officers, one from New Rochelle and one from Mount Vernon posting invidious remarks about Black Lives Matter. The New Rochelle officer was suspended hours after we broke the story but there has been no action taken in Mount Vernon as of date. In the last two years we had the pleasure of talking to many of the police commissioners and chiefs in Westchester and all we spoke to claim there is no racism in their department. But as we can see systematic racism is alive and well in Westchester County when its comes to the attitude of law enforcement toward African-Americans.
These two posts by Correction Officer Lemon, the two officers (Mount Vernon Police Officer Richard Castelhano & NRPD Sgt. Christopher Castiglia) we exposed last month and let us not forget the Pelham Manor Racist Email Scandal we reported in February 2015 which spread to Eastchester are all proof that racism despite what Police Chiefs and Commissioners are telling the press, does in fact exist in the various law enforcement agencies of Westchester County.