Justice Department investigates Yonkers police

The federal government is investigating allegations of excessive police force and discriminatory policing in the Yonkers Police Department.Mayor Phil Amicone and Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett announced Wednesday they were notified of the investigation in an August 22 letter from the U.S. Department of Justice. The letter states the department will investigate whether there have been ?systemic violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States in the use of force by members of the Yonkers Police Department."

Allegations of police brutality against the department have been on the rise in recent years. According to the police department's internal affairs division, there were 18 allegations of excessive force in 2005. In 2006, the number jumped to 34 complaints. There have already been 23 allegations so far this year.

Hartnett said the troubling incidents are few considering Yonkers cops responded to 93,000 calls so far this year with 3,800 arrests. The commissioner vowed to crack down on any rogue officers. However, he insisted there is no systemic problem with brutality in his department.

Last month, Reverend Al Sharpton came to the city to raise awareness about police brutality. Sharpton is planning to open a chapter of his National Action Network in Yonkers.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing, but wouldn't say what the basis of the investigation is or what triggered it.For more on the Justice Department probe, go to on channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and click on iO Extra.Related Information Police brutality tops Mt. Vernon event with Al Sharpton Rev. Al Sharpton addresses police brutality complaints

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