YPD Union Pres Keith Olson Publicly Debates Black Law Enforcement’s Damon K Jones Over Response To Their Chokehold Statement

Damon K. Jones and Yonkers PBA President Keith Olson after discussing culture policing and community relations at WESPAC Forum Sept 2017 [Black Westchester]

Earlier today, Black Westchester Publisher Damon K. Jones – the president of Blacks In Law Enforcement, wrote a response to the Affiliated Police Associations of Westchester and Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller’s statements in response to the New York City Chokehold bill.

Yonkers Police Detective Keith Olson President of the Affiliated Police Associations of Westchester and the Yonkers PBA responded to a Facebook of the BW editorial shared on Yonkers Newswire Facebook Page.

Det. Olson responded in the comment section below the article; “For clarification purposes, Yonkers PD, and many other Police Departments have long banned the use of chokeholds. That is not the issue with this NYC law. The issue is the additional language which now criminalizes commonly used and proven safe methods of restraint, including putting any pressure on a person’s chest or back. To be clear, We are not encouraging methods of restraint that include prolonged pressure on the diaphragm. We know that is dangerous and train to avoid that. The problem with this NYC law is that an officer can be arrested and prosecuted if he/she was found kneeling or sitting on a suspects chest or back even if it’s only for the briefest of moments and even if it has caused no injuries. It’s a hastily written law which does not take into account any of the dynamics of a violent struggle. Mr. Jones should understand the difficulty of this new law given his years of experience in the Corrections system.”

Mr. Jones responded; “In my many years in law enforcement 30 plus I have never had to do anything mentioned in the NYC law to restrain and handcuff an individual and the majority of the issue are that these techniques are used after the cuffs are put on and that has caused all the techniques to be banned. And in my 30 years of experience, if 2 grown ass men can’t apprehend and detain an individual without incident then they should not have the job. As we move forward the culture of law enforcement will change because laws are being passed because qe have failed to correct the problem. Instead of police unions pushing back on the legislation that holds them accountable and makes more responsible for the actions and training what they union presidents need to be doing is ask for more money, because of the higher standards or accountability. Stop bitching and read the editorial.”

Det. Olson responded; “lol. “Stop bitching?” I should have known better. Mr. Jones has never had the experience of being a police officer.”

Many discussion when there are debates, Mr. Jones is accused of not comprehending because Correction Officer are not law enforcement or he can’t comprehend due to his lack of experience of being a police officer. But Correction Officers are trained in the same Use Of Force under NYS Article 35 just like police.

The difference is Correction Officers handle these individuals with de-escalation before use of force without the use of a gun or taser. Correction Officers are also trained to deal with the menially ill unlike police officers. Very few police department, every officer is trained to deal with the mentally ill and many of the interaction leads to the death or injury or the mentally ill individual, in Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers, White Plains, Greenburgh and almost every other department with of over 200 officers.

The debate continued and Damon responded; “Being a police officer lol clearly you missed the point. I’m not talking about giving out tickets or investigating murders, I’m talking about use of force, deadly force which correction and police are trained under the same state law. The fact of the matter being a correction officer we are more physically that police officers and we don’t not have a gun or a taser. As one officer with 60 inmates while there are 5 cops jumping on one boy, its always 5 against one. So I can understand why you would use an excuse to dismiss my statement by saying I’m not a police officer but you failed to respond to the  Peelian Principles of Policing that I wrote about. And I would gladly have a public debate with you on the use of force and article 35. Keith get more money for your membership and with greater responsibility should come greater pay raises, cause change is coming whether you like it or not so you might as well get paid for it instead of feeding meat to the post.

Mr. Jones invited Det. Olson to a public debate of use of force and Det. Olson that he would gladly appear on our radio show People Before Politics, anytime.

Why is any of this of importance enough to write an editorial. Simply answer is much of the problems we are facing is from a lack of parties willingness to discuss these matters when it comes to criminal justice reform publicly or privately. Both sides usually stay in the perspective corners and feed meat to the bases much like in political circles. Without open and honest conversation we can never get to the root of the systematic racism that exist in law enforcement.

When either or both sides can not see or be willing to even hear the other side of the argument, we can never repair the criminal justice system. Instead of sticking to the talking points and feeding meat to your base which only furthers the division between police and the community, lets start with the commonalities instead of the difference. Almost everyone in law enforcement I have spoken to privately or publicly can admit there are some things that need to be fixed in law enforcement and police interaction with communities of color even if they wont say it publicly.

Lets start there. Damon does make a point to quote Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, With great power comes great responsibility. So instead of Union Presidents fighting the change that is coming if no other reason, the national outrage over the killing of George Floyd which almost everyone who watched the video can admit was a gross case of the use of excessive force. So why don’t union presidents in their acceptance of the laws that are being and about to be passed request pay raises for their membership for the extra responsibility. And Note to politicians, giving police a raise is always a good place to start when demanding they adhere to new restrictions.

Why should you pay them more to do the right thing, making the demands without offering a increase in salary, how has that been working out for you. Before elected officials and even taxpayers shoot that down, the money you will spend in paying victims or families of victims of police criminality is probably a lot more in the long run.

Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing is we give officers raises with the changes in legislation we demand as supposed to paying millions of dollars in lawsuits for excessive force and cops violating the residents they are paid to protect. NYC alone budgets over $700 Millions Dollars a year for these lawsuits from false arrests, civil rights violations and excessive force

In closing I encourage this public debate between Mr. Jones and Det. Olson and hope it leads to many more discussions throughout the county and even the country.

One thing I say to all reading if you haven’t noticed from the public outrage in the peaceful protest, marches and rallies and even the riots, people are demanding changes in legislation, more accountability and the end of the killing of Black and Brown people at the hands on the police. Detective Olson I have done several stories of Police Criminality and at least one or two Black and Brown individuals killed at the hands of the Yonkers Police Department. This just isn’t about the killing of George Floyd 1200 plus miles away, WE HAVE GEORGE FLOYD’S IN WESTCHESTER TOO. And that is the point of all of this!

You came to the table at least once before where I was present, time for Union Presidents to start listening to the needs of the people and stop making excuses and and justifying the violating of Black and Brown peoples rights and the killing of Black and Brown people at the hands of the police and yeah that means you too Pat Lynch.


  • Great article.

    Excuses are for chumps. Results are for leaders.

    Union fanboys are not on the side of citizens, they are only on the side of lip service.

  • As a retired police of 23 years and being of African American descendant I agree wholeheartedly that there should be real reform with the ranks of the criminal justice system. Not the BS diversity training that has been used in the past. As we see that training does not work. I feel it is incumbent of Law
    enforcement personnel to earn the respect of the black and brown communities, not the other way around. The black and brown communities should get the same respect from Law enforcement as the mostly white communities of the suburbs are getting. I feel a badge does not shield you from fundamental principles of morality. To be honest if professionalism and honor mean anything, men/women who swear to serve and protect should hold themselves to a higher standard than others when it comes to the use of force, especially lethal force. True reform means accountability from top to bottom!!

    One last note there should be a good cop bill that protects officers who call out criminal behavior of bad cops. It is hard for a guy/gal to do the right thing and then be is left alone to fend for his/herself. Most having no one to turn too. Leaving an officer to fend for him/herself, with a possibly snitch tag can get him/her hurt or cost them their job!! On a lot of jobs the blue wall is high and thick!!

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