Westchester, we have seen our share of questionable police involved assaults and deaths. The victims families have continued to request independent investigations from our District Attorney Janet Difiore to no avail. time line of police incidences in Westhchester How many more deaths shall we hear about without our elected official realizing that there is a problem? When our District Attorney is quoted saying an officers use of the “N” word was a diversionary tactic, where is the outcry for change from our community leaders, elected officials and Black Clergy?
As we celebrate the work and birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. , would he be silent in the face of this kind of injustice? The time is now for our county elected officials to act in some form of oversight of its 43 municipalities and training of its officers.
What does it say to communities like Mt. Vernon where a police officer can cost a city over a million dollars in civil lawsuits and hes put back in the streets to patrol the same people he was found guilty in a court of law of abusing? Have Mt. Vernon elected officials forgot that these same people pay taxes that pay this officers salary? read here
What does it say to the African American residents when a Police Officer can call the President the N word, wish for his assassination and continues to patrol the streets where many African Americans may shop, eat at restaurants or do business? read here
The issue of whether some form of oversight is appropriate may have been settled from the public’s viewpoint. Three-fourths of the largest cities in the United States have established some form of law enforcement review. The recent election of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had an police oversight political platform has shown that many voters feel the need of some type of oversight of law enforcement. These actions represent a de facto public finding that oversight is an appropriate response to the problem of law enforcement malpractice.
Clearly, developing community-especially minority community-confidence that law enforcement will be held accountable for its actions is important in and of itself. It is a cold reality that many minority citizens in Westchester lack confidence in internal review and any investigations of police misconduct from the District Attorneys office.
Without trust in law enforcement accountability in Westchester, racial tensions have risen, with tragic consequences for the community. Even a review system perfect in an administrative and legal sense would be problematic for its municipality if the community did not believe in its integrity. We believe, as Democrats, a system of law enforcement policy and procedure review systems in Westchester can be part of the larger effort of community policing, leading to greater acceptance of the legitimacy of the review.
As Independent Democrats, we question the silence of our own Democratic party in Westchester concerning the continuous deaths and physical abuse of black, brown, yellow and poor citizens at the hands of rouge law enforcement in Westchester County. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it” – Martin Luther King Jr