'One of them hurt my brother' - Feds investigate Mount Vernon police over alleged civil rights abuses
The Mount Vernon Police Department is facing a federal civil rights investigation after residents claimed that officers engaged in discriminatory and racist conduct against members of the Black community.
Mearly Harris, a Mount Vernon resident, says her younger brother had a dangerous run-in with an officer.
"One of them hurt my brother very, very bad," she claims. "He planted drugs on my brother and my brother had to jump through a window and break his leg."
Years of complaints from residents of alleged racial profiling and discriminatory policing have landed the Mount Vernon PD in the crosshairs of the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"When officers break the law, they violate their oath and undermine the community's trust," says Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The federal agency is looking into the department's methods of policing - especially when the Black community was involved. The department is being accused of using excessive force, unlawful strip searches and falsifying evidence.
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawn Patterson-Howard has pledged to help out in the investigation. City officials say they've committed time and effort to improve police relations with the public.