Mt. Vernon police officer sues city, department claiming racist treatment, misconduct, harassment

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If you see something, say something -- that's what police tell people in order to protect the public. But one officer says that's not the motto in the Mount Vernon Police Department.

Officer Murashea Bovell says for the last 12 years, he has been subjected to racist comments and witnessed officers perform serious misconduct against the public, including working with drug dealers to bring up arrest counts.

"The drug dealer sells the drugs and then calls the cops and says, 'Hey, I just sold it to x,y,z...he's wearing a red shirt. Pick him up,'" says Bovell.

Bovell says he filed complaints time and time again, only for them to fall into an abyss.

"There's an internal process. It doesn't work. It doesn't work, but you follow it, you report it to the department heads -- the supervisors, the lieutenants, captains, chiefs, but nothing gets done," says Bovell.

Now, Bovell is suing the city, then-Mayor Richard Thomas, the police department and 13 of its employees, including Commissioner Shawn Harris.

Harris released a statement, saying, "Corruption has no place in public service, it compromises the public's trust. I have and will continue to hold those accountable who violate department policies or the law."

In his 41-page lawsuit, Bovell claims officers retaliated against him for speaking up. During an afternoon roll call, he recorded Sgt. Michael Kushnir apparently calling him a rat.

In a harassment complaint form, Bovell said he was also antagonized by officer Camilo Antonini, who would boast how he repeatedly had sex on top of his desk.

Bovell and his attorney Joe Murray say a rubber rat was left next to his locker, and the department even tried to force him out of a job, claiming he was mentally unfit. He has since worked primarily at his desk.


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