Harris insists he was ‘legally appointed’ as Mt. Vernon PD commissioner
Acting Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Shawn Harris was back on the job Thursday, one week after being arrested.
It wasn’t at the police department, however. He was working remotely from the Retro Diner.
“I go to different locations around the city. I have my laptop, my phone, I do what I have to do,” he told News 12.
Nine days ago, Harris was arrested on aggravated trespassing charge for carrying his service weapon to work. It was supposed to be his first day on the job and he spent several hours behind bars.
Harris was only freed because the district attorney refused to bring any charges against him.
Harris' reappointment to the job he held for 14 months is controversial because the city's apparent acting mayor gave him the job.
When Mayor Richard Thomas pleaded guilty to two campaign related misdemeanors on July 10, the City Council insists the city charter mandates he vacate the office.
City Council President Andre Wallace was sworn in as acting mayor and a week later had Harris sworn in. The Thomas administration and the police department have not recognized his authority, but Harris insists he's in charge.
“I was legally appointed by Mayor Andre Wallace to be the police commissioner of the City of Mount Vernon and I'm going to perform my duties as such,” says Harris.
He says his immediate priorities are removing the officers stationed outside the mayor's office and reeling in his department's overtime.