Feds investigate Mount Vernon Police Department


MOUNT VERNON – The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has opened a pattern or practice investigation into the Mount Vernon Police Department.

The review will assess whether the police department engages in a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing. The investigation will also assess the department’s use of force, strip and body cavity searches, and how it handles evidence.

As part of the probe, the feds will conduct a comprehensive review of the department’s systems of accountability, including complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition, and discipline.

The investigators will also reach out to community groups and the public to learn about their experiences with the police department.

“Police officers have tough jobs, and so many do their work honorably, lawfully, and with distinction, respecting the rights of citizens they have sworn to protect,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “But when officers break the law, they violate their oath and undermine a community’s trust.” He asked anyone who has information relevant to the investigation into the police department to contact the Department of Justice at community.mvpd@usdoj.gov or to call 866-985-1378.

Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard noted that when she took office, the police department and her administration turned over evidence discovered during the city’s internal investigation to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.  The evidence was then provided o the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We look forward to working with the Department of Justice and cooperating fully with its investigation, which is about a possible pattern of behaviors and practices that pre-date the Patterson-Howard administration,” the mayor said.

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