Mount Vernon demonstration calls for reform of city's police department
Dozens gathered Saturday on the steps of Mount Vernon's City Hall to call for reforms within the police department.
The Save Mount Vernon organization organized the event.
Residents shared their experiences and encounters with the police force, which has been under intense scrutiny in recent months.
"We're here because of police misconduct, police allegations of abuse," said long-time resident and event organizer Jesse Van Lew. He has been vocal about what he says is the city's need for police reform.
Van Lew and other leaders said they vow to continue to hold the police department accountable.
According to the Mount Vernon Coalition for Police Reform, there is an overall distrust of the city's officers. The local coalition is made up of former police, former city officials and civil rights attorneys. Their recommendations include strengthening officers' relationships with the community, requiring body and dashboard cameras, and increasing anti-bias training.
In a statement, the City of Mount Vernon says,"We acknowledge that people have concerns about the pace of reform, but innovation takes time and requires partnership with the community. We are trying to rebuild trust in our department through new leadership that remains steadfast in their efforts to reform policing. The work being done will only be sped up by the newly form[ed] police reform commission that consists of criminal defense and civil rights attorneys, key community advocates and a diverse coalition of residents. We are taking steps forward to create something new and equitable for our city. "