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Yonkers Guardians Honor Yonkers Police Dept’s Deceased Black Police Officers For Black History Month

2022 Black History Month 

We Yonkers Guardians, still working or retired, would like to highlight our deceased Black Officers. In merit of their assistances to our city, as well as being veterans of our nation. While simultaneously, being devoted to their families and communities. They are listed in the order of their appointments to the Yonkers Police Department. The Yonkers Police Department was founded on April 10, 1871. The first Black Police Officer, Tom Brooks, was hired in April of 1925. Even though the constancy of hiring Blacks were drastically reduced from 1928 to 1951. The first Black female Officer, Rita Gross Nelson, was hired in November of 1965.  

Tom Brooks was born in Yonkers, NY (March 10, 1900). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Yonkers High School. On April 1, 1925, Tom was hired by the Yonkers Police Department. Tom’s brother, Frank was the funeral director at the Brooks Funeral Home at Warburton Avenue and Gold Street. During his career he received several departmental commendations and awards. PO Brooks passed away on May 24, 1959. Tom was 59 years old.  

James F. Martin was born in the Elizabeth City, NC (October 15, 1897). He attended all the public schools in Elizabeth City. On August 16, 1928, Martin was hired by the Yonkers Police Department and was assigned to the First Precinct. In October of 1940, he was terminated from the department. James, a.k.a. “Cool Breeze,” later worked as a watchman for Yonkers. James Martin passed away in July of 1955. James was 68 years old. 

Stewart L. Freeman was born in Charleston, SC (October 30, 1896). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Yonkers High School. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy serving on the USS Manchuria (1915-19). Freeman was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on December 16, 1928. PO Freeman eventually became a Detective. As a Detective, he retired on a disability pension on June 15, 1954. In retirement, he worked as a guard for the United Nations. Retired Detective Freeman passed away on April 12, 1960. Stewart was 63 years old. 

Charles Taylor was born in Yonkers NY (March 11, 1922). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Gorton High School. He served, as a Staff Sergeant, in the U.S. Army (1942 -47). Taylor was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on November 1, 1951. In September of 1972, he attended the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In February of 1977, he was promoted to Sergeant. In July of 1981, he was elevated to Detective Sergeant. In November of 1981, Detective Sgt. Charles Taylor retired from the Yonkers Police Department. Retired Detective Sergeant Charles Taylor passed away on June 6, 1999. Charles was 77 years old.  

James A. Barrier was born in Barber, NC (November 18, 1919). He attended all of the Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Gorton High School. Jim entered the US Army Air Corps (1942-46) and served as a Second Lieutenant. On November 1, 1951, Barrier was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department. In April of 1960, PO Barrier was promoted the rank of Sergeant. In May of 1967, Sgt Barrier was promoted to Lieutenant. In July of 1968, Lt Barrier was elevated to the position of Detective Lieutenant and assigned to the Community Relations Unit. Detective Lieutenant retired in November of 1971.He was the first president of the Yonkers Police Guardians organization. Ret Lt. James A. Barrier passed away on February 4, 1988, at the age of 68. 

Charles R. Jackson was born in Yonkers NY (June 18, 1929). He attended all of the Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Gorton High School. On December 1, 1952, Jackson was hired by the Yonkers Police Department. On January 11, 1954, PO Jackson was granted an indefinite leave of absence due to being inducted into the Army. As a corporal, he was assigned to the military police, Criminal Investigation Division, Korea. Jackson was discharged on October 27, 1955, reinstated to the YPD on December 16, 1955. In June of 1957, PO Jackson was appointed to Detective. Both Detectives, Jackson and Taylor took on dangerous gangs and drug-dealers’ operations. In 1975, Retired Detective Charles Jackson would be hired as Deputy Director of Security for the National Football League as and retired from that position in 1997. Former Yonkers Detective and Westchester County Criminal Investigator Charles Jackson passed away on May 6, 2015. Charles was 85 years old. 

Richard Henry Banks was born in New York City (June 10, 1928). He attended and graduated from all of Yonkers Public Schools. Richard joined the Navy (1946-49. On September 1, 1953, Richard Banks was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department.  PO Banks was assigned to the First Precinct. In February of 1955, he was assigned to the three-wheel motorcycle on Parking Summons Detail. In August of 1956, he was assigned to the Emergency Services Unit. Four months later, PO Banks was assigned to the Juvenile Aide Bureau, aka Youth Division. On August 23, 1967, PO Banks passed away due to a lung disorder. Richard was 39 years old.  

Yasko Green was born in Yonkers, NY (Aug. 1, 1930). He attended and graduated from all of Yonkers Public Schools. Yasko joined the US Army, during the Korean War (1951-53). Yasko was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on December 1, 1954. In February of 1963, PO Green worked as a youth investigator in the Juvenile Aide Bureau. In April of 1963, he returned to patrol in the First Precinct. Then moved to the Third Precinct in November of 1966. His last assignment was on June 19, 1974, when he returned as a youth investigator. After retiring on May 12, 1978, Yasko owned and operated a liquor store on Palisade Ave for several years. He was a member of the Terrace City Lodge #1499, Samuel Dow Post # 1017, and the Westchester-Rockland Co. Police Guardians Association. Ret. PO Yasko Green passed away on April 9, 2001. Yasko was 70 years old. 

Solomon Spivey was born as “King Solomon Spivey Jr, in Yonkers, NY (August 18, 1928). He attended all of the Yonkers Public Schools. He graduated from Saunders HS.  Sol jointed the Yonkers Police Department December 16, 1957. He joined the U.S. Navy, submarine service during the Korean War (1946 – 1950). Sol was appointed to the Police Department on December 16, 1957. In February of 1964, Sol was appointed a Detective in the Detective Division. In November of 1967, he was transferred to the Youth Division. In June of 1968, Sol was reassigned to the Detective Division and remained there until his retirement on September 17, 1987. Sol was a Master Masons, of James H. Farrell Lodge #34 and a member of the Westchester Police Guardians Association. On December 16, 1987, exactly thirty years from the day of his appointment, Ret Det “Solomon” Spivey passed away. Sol was 58 years old. 

David Gordon Lee was born in Yonkers, NY (January 3, 1934). He attended local public schools and graduated from Saunders HS. Dave joined the Marine Corps, was a Sergeant during the Korean War (1951-54). On December 16, 1957, Lee was appointed to the YPD. Following his recruit training, Lee was assigned to foot patrol in the First Precinct. In April of 1964, PO Lee was transferred to the Juvenile Aide Bureau (Youth Division). In November of 1966, PO Lee was transferred to the Fourth Precinct and retired on January 8, 1980. PO Dave Lee was an active member of the Westchester Rockland Guardians Association. Ret. PO David G. Lee passed away in May of 1985 following a long illness. David was 51 years old. 

Norman Downes, Jr was born in Yonkers, NY (July 15, 1932). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Roosevelt HS. He was a corporal, assigned as Chief Clerk in the Finance Office. Later, he volunteered, as a paratrooper, to be part of the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Ranger Battalion (1950 – 53). Norman was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on March 16, 1958. During his career, PO Downes worked several commands. During his career, PO Downes was selected to serve in the Scooter Squad in 1970. “Stormin’ Normin’,” retired from the Yonkers Police Department on May 26, 1978. Following his retirement, Norman owned and operated a tavern on Tuckahoe Road named “Ups and Downs.” In 2001, he was appointed a Yonkers Deputy City Marshall. Very early in his career, Norman Downes was the organizer, first president, of the very first Yonkers Police Guardians Association (1960).  He was a Past Master of James H. Farrell Lodge #34, Yonkers, NY. Ret PO Norman Downes passed on March 15, 2011. “Stormin’ Normin’” was 78 years old. 

Larry Bracy was born in the Town of Tuckahoe, NY (February 13, 1929). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Saunders High School. He was a corporal, in the US Army earning several battle-related citations, during the Korean War (1951-53). In April of 1960, Larry joined the Yonkers Police Department. PO Larry Bracy was assigned to the Second Precinct and remained there for his entire career (January 10, 1985). Larry was a very personable individual but maintained a low profile while working. Ret PO Lawrence Bracey passed away on November 9, 2001, at the age of 72.

Hugh Kelsey Hogue was born in Yonkers, NY (May 22, 1933). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Commerce High School. In the military, Kelsey was a corporal during the Korean War (1953-1955). Kelsey was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on January 1, 1962. He was assigned to First Precinct. In November of 1970, he was reassigned to the Fourth Precinct. He accumulated several awards. Two pertained to saving several lives during two building fires. In June of 1979, PO Kelsey Hogue was reassigned to the First Precinct, Special Operations Division, as a mail courier. He retired on January 11, 1995. Retired PO Hugh “Kelsey” Hogue passed away on October 22, 2012. Hugh was 79 years old. 

Jesse Taylor was born in West Virginia (May 25, 1939). He attended all of the public schools in the south. He graduated from Kimball High School in Kimball, West Virginia. He was appointed to the police department on November 20, 1963. Following recruit training, PO Taylor was assigned to the First Precinct. In January of 1967, PO Taylor was appointed to Detective and remained in the Detective Division. In June of 1979, PO Taylor was transferred to the First Precinct; where he would remain until retirement on April 6, 1984. As a Detective, he earned several awards. After his retirement, he returned to the south. Retired Detective Jesse Taylor passed away on January 7, 2021, in Greensboro, N.C. Jesse was 85 years old. 

Lorenzo Alphonso Paul was born in Harlem, NY (June 12, 1941). He, also known as Larry, attended Sacred Heart School and graduated from Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx. As a teenager, he was one of the singers in a street acapella quartet, called “Plaids. Lorenzo Paul was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on February 15, 1965. With his ability to speak Spanish, PO Paul was transferred to the Youth Division in January of 1966. PO Paul was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in July of 1985. In March of 1990, He was elevated to the position of Detective Sergeant. In October of 1997, Det.  Sgt. Paul was promoted to the rank of Police Lieutenant. On March 17, 2000, Lt. Paul retired from The Yonkers Police Department. Lorenzo Paul was very active in the Police Holy Name Society, Big Brothers, Knights of Columbus, and James H. Farrell Lodge #34. Retired Lt. Lorenzo Paul passed away on April 26, 2001. Larry was 59 years old. 

Rita A Nelson was born as Rita Austin in the Bronx (June 2, 1937). After moving to Yonkers, NY; she attended all of the Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Roosevelt High School. She served as an airman 3rd class in the United States Air National Guard (1950-57). Rita A. Gross was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on November 19, 1965. Rita was the very first black female appointed to police department. PO Rita Gross was assigned to the Detective Division working in the Juvenile Aid Bureau (JAB) in plainclothes. In August of 1971, she was appointed a Detective. Detective Rita Gross Nelson retired from the Yonkers Police Department on February 6, 1986. She was a Past Matron of the “Terrace City Chapter # 26, PHOES,” the Chief of Security for the Hudson River Museum, and the Executive Director of the Yonkers YMCA. Retired Detective Rita Gross Nelson passed away on January 28, 2015. Rita was 77 years old.

Cole L. Scott was born in Charleston, SC (November 10, 1943). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Saunders High School. While in school, Cole was active in the Civil Air Patrol. On March 4, 1966, Cole was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department. His first patrol assignment was at the Fourth Precinct. In July of 1968, PO Scott was appointed as a Detective; and remain in the Detective Division until his retirement (March 21, 1986). He received several awards. After retirement, Scott worked as the city’s Director of Community Outreach Program for 9 years. He also worked for the Office of Fair Housing in Yonkers. In November of 2004, Cole moved to Delaware and worked for Delaware State Police in their Radio Room.  Cole was a Past Master of James H. Farrell Lodge #34, F&AM, Prince Hall Association.  Retired Detective Cole L. Scott Jr. passed away on January 26, 2016. Scott was 72 years old. 

Abdi Ismail Hipha Ali was born in the city of Yonkers, NY. He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Commerce High School. He joined the United States Marine Corps during the Korea War (1954-58). On March 4, 1966, Ali was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department. He was assigned to the Third Precinct.  “Sonny” spent 13 years there on patrol. He was a good tough cop who was not appreciated by some but admired by others. On one occasion he was even shot by a rifle while on his foot post. In June of 1987, PO Sonny Ali was transferred to headquarters as the court security officer. PO Abdi Ali retired from the police department, after 29 years of service, on April 29, 1995. Four months later, he passed away on August 14, 1995. PO “Sonny” Ali was so respected that a portion of his old foot post was honorarily renamed “Abdi Ali Way.” Sonny was 69 years old.   

Samuel Belton was born in Hopkins, South Carolina (September 8, 1940). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Commerce High School. He attended Elizabeth Seton State Teachers College (1959 – 1962) on a scholarship. In September of 1965, he held a provisional correction officer’s position at the Sing Sing  Prison. On November 15, 1966, Samuel was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department. After the police academy, PO Belton was assigned to the Fourth Precinct.  In July of 1970, he was appointed a Detective working out of the Detective Division. In August of 1973, Detective Belton was transferred to the Community Relations Unit.  However, the following year, on May 15, 1974, the unit was abolished. Sam Belton, as a patrol officer, was returned to the North Command. He later retired from the YPD on October 1, 1995. Retired PO Sam Belton passed away on February 2, 2003. Sam was 62 years old. 

Clifford M. Smith, Sr. born and raised in Yonkers, N.Y. was a loving husband to Joan Smith (retired YPD Police Officer) and devoted father to his kids: Kellie, Clifford (Kip) Jr., Antoine, Cherie (currently YPD Detective Sergeant) and Christina Smith. “Smitty”, as everyone called him, graduated from Yonkers High School and after graduation, he went on to serve his country by joining the United States Air-Force, where he later received an Honorable Discharge. Smitty, was then hired by the Ossining Police Department and during his tenure as a Police Officer, PO Smith earned the “Medal of Honor” for risking his own life evacuating residents of a burning building on Main Street in Ossining. PO Smitty, later transferred to the Yonkers Police Department and was appointed a Police Officer #190 on January 11, 1974. He worked in the 2nd Precinct and then transferred to the 3rd “Mini” Precinct on Radford Street where he worked until his untimely passing on 10/13/88. During his career with the Yonkers Police Department, Smitty received several “Certificates for Excellent Police Work” and “Unit Citations” for various arrests that he made and was very proud of. Smitty may be gone, but his legacy of “Service and Sacrifice”, continues to live on through his family who miss and love him beyond Life! 

John Osborne was in White Plains NY (January 22, 1949). He attended all of Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Yonkers High School. JO was on the all-city basketball team. John was hired by the White Plains Police Dept as a police officer in January of 1970. However, on Jan. 20, 1970, he left the White Plains Police Department and joined the Yonkers Police Department on January 1, 1974. After a brief training, PO John Osborne was assigned to the Fourth Precinct. Several months later, he was assigned to the Community Patrol Unit, along with PO Louie Delango. In February of 1975, PO John Osborne was reassigned to the newly formed Street Crime Unit. One day on patrol, PO Osborne observed a theft at John Wanamaker’s in Cross County. A few guys had just grabbed a bunch of clothes (arm full) off the racks and ran to a waiting car and they sped away. PO Osborne gave chase and followed them down the Thruway where they got off at the Willis Ave. Long-story short, it turned into a wild daylight shootout. Although the suspects managed to escape the NYPD investigated and determined that JO took appropriate action. In June of 1987, JO was reassigned to the Second Precinct, and remained there up to his retirement on February 4, 1993.  Retired PO John Osborne moved to North Carolina. On October 12, 2008, he passed away in his home. JO was 59 years old. 

Charles Morton was born in Yonkers NY (August 10, 1954). He, Ronnie, attended all of the Yonkers Public Schools and graduated from Yonkers High School. As a veteran, he was a Military Police in US Army (1974-79). On September 20, 1979, Charles was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department. He immediately was transferred to the department’s Narcotics Unit for a year. In 1994, Detective Charles Morton was reassigned to General assignment. He and Detectives Don Foley caught a homicide case beginning with a skeleton, in the middle of the woods. Both Detectives were awarded the prestigious Gannett newspaper “Macy Award”. Detective Charles Morton retired on January 8, 2000 and passed away on October 17, 2002. Ronnie served as the president of the Yonkers Police Guardians Association. His favorite pastime was fishing & visiting Virginia where he planned to retire. 

Soke Papasan Canty; After High School, Papasan Canty joined the Air Force, during the Vietnam War years. As a reservist, he was assigned to the New York Army National Guard and rose to the rank of Major upon retiring. P. Canty was appointed to the Yonkers Police Department on March 8, 1985. PO Canty worked a variety of assignments: uniform patrol, public housing, parks detail, youth division, and PAL. PO Canty, as an undercover officer, was assigned to the DEA Task Force. After this assignment, PO Canty was assigned to the Fourth Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU). He acted as the liaison officer between the police and Municipal Housing Authority (MHA). In December of 1990, PO Canty was in a wild shoot-out incident which entailed one suspect being shot and two wounded. In March of 1997, PO Canty was involved in another wild daylight shooting. This time, he was hit in the foot by a ricochet bullet fired accidentally from another officer. On March 31, 2003, PO Canty announced his candidacy for 3rd Ward Council Person. In order to campaign freely, he retired from the police department on August 14, 2003. He wasn’t successful. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Georgia. PO Canty was a recognized expert and a Grand Master in various marital art styles. PO Canty maintained an AAS Degree in Retail Marketing, from New York City Technical College; a BS Degree in Liberal Arts, from University of the State of New York; and a MS Degree in Public Administrators, from Marist College. Retired PO Soke Papasan Canty passed away in his home, Lithonia, Georgia, on March 23, 2020.  He was 71 years old.

The Yonkers Guardians Associates are an organization consisting of African-American Law Enforcement Officers and Honorary Members within The City Of Yonkers, for more information on the Yonkers Guardians, visit their website.

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Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.
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