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MOUNT VERNON CITY GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED IN PROPER OVERSIGHT OF ITS POLICE DEPARTMENT

The recent shooting of an Emotionally Disturbed man in Mt. Vernon brings into question proper oversight and accountability of the Mt. Vernon City Government over its police department.

Sergeant Michael Marcucilli has been identified as one of the officers that fired several times in shooting of an emotionally disturbed black male around 10am, Friday morning.

Mt. Vernon Police Sergeant Michael Marcucilli has faced numerous complaints and civil lawsuits including a 2010 lawsuit for assaulting a retired Black County Police Officer and is still on desk duty from a 2009 incident for assaulting a 15 year old boy in the side of the head with his night stick while he was in handcuffs. In both of these cases Sergeant Marcucilli was found guilty in civil court. It has been reported by the Journal News that this one officer has cost the city taxpayers $937,000 in legal fees, judgments and settlements.

We are also aware that the Mt. Vernon City Charter (enacted in 1922) exclusively governs disciplinary procedures within the Police Department. According to the decision in the Appellate Court, City of Mt. Vernon v. Cuevas, and 289 A.D. 2d 674 (3e Dep’t 2001). This decision firmly established the City Charter as the exclusive source of discipline in the Mt. Vernon Police Department.

The essence of the ruling is simple. The PBA or the City of Mt. Vernon cannot hide behind N.Y. CVS. LAW § 75, section 4. Whereas no removal or disciplinary proceeding shall be commenced more than eighteen months after the occurrence. This does not and cannot apply to why the City of Mt. Vernon refused to dismiss a city employee that has cost $937,000 in taxpayer funds and found guilty of violating the rights of individuals.

As a national organization of law enforcement professionals, we ask the City of Mt. Vernon and it representatives, why is this Sergeant still working? Why did the city government interfere with the disciplinary process while undermining Commissioner Bell’s authority to discipline these rogue police officers when the city has had the exclusive authority to discipline officers?

Because of Mayor Davis’s undermining of authority, firing the Commissioner that was trying to discipline Sergeant Marcucilli and others. We now have a life and death situation as a result in poor management and city government.

Mayor Davis and the City Council of Mount Vernon have failed to implement a proper Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) that had been in the Mt. Vernon City Charter since 1982. CCRB’s have evolved in the last three decades as creditable tool of oversight of law enforcement policies and procedures.

After many conversations with the Mayor, the City Council and the Ethics Board the city has failed to implement or revise said legislation. A current outline of national standards according The National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement was given from our organization to all parties in June of 2012.

With the recent news reports of questionable police shootings, police misconduct and possible police crimes; it should be imperative to create a system of checks and balances of accountability of the Mt. Vernon Police department.

By failing to correct the problems in the Police Department in Mt. Vernon. The Mt. Vernon Elected Officials and Appointees are failing their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers.

As the taxpayers’ agents, Elected Officials and Appointees should be establishing proper law enforcement oversight legislation that will create checks and balances for protection of the taxpayer and the law enforcement officer. The citizens of Mt. Vernon should not be subjected to the “Usual Politics of the Police” where the complaint process is so corrupt that citizens feel no need to file complaints because nothing will get ever done.

Damon K. Jones
New York Representative
Blacks In Law Enforcement of America

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

It is our duty as peace officers and members of Blacks in Law enforcement of America to continue the fight for freedom, justice, and equality for all citizens. We will be advocates of law enforcement professionals by establishing continuous training and support. As black law enforcement professionals, we pledge our time, honor, and talent for the uplifting of our communities. We are truly the leaders of the community, in and out of our blue uniform.

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Blacks in Law enforcement will continue to express “ Black” as it refers to people of color that are law enforcement professionals. The emphasis is on the common experience and determination of the people of African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian origin that opposes the effects of the policies and procedures in the history of our Justice System, that are based on racial bias and disproportionality.
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