Suit alleges Mount Vernon officers 'routinely' conducted illegal strip searches
A new lawsuit claims Mount Vernon police officers "routinely" conducted illegal strip searches.
The lawsuit alleges a Latino resident was illegally strip-searched. Mount Vernon officers allegedly also conducted a cavity search that was "humiliating and degrading, and served no valid law enforcement purpose."
It comes as the city works to reform its police department. Accusations of corruption, excessive force and abuse of power have plagued the Mount Vernon Police Department for years - now the city is working on a plan to improve transparency and accountability within the department.
Dwayne "Coach D" Murray is on the Mount Vernon Police Reform Commission, which just released a report to reform the city's police department. The 43 recommendations are being discussed this week during public Zoom sessions.
One of the most important recommendations is to create a Civilian Complaint Review Board says co-chair Danielle Browne.
"It is intimidating to complain to police officers about other police officers - you know, they fear retaliation," says Browne.
The review board would allow residents to submit complaints online and give board members the power to subpoena officers.
The list of recommendations must be submitted to the state by April 1 as part of an executive order requiring all police departments to come up with a plan to their departments.
The next Zoom listening session is Wednesday night at 6 p.m.
The city is taking public comment on the recommendations through March 21.
News 12 asked for a comment on the strip search lawsuit, and a spokesperson for the city of Mount Vernon says do not comment on pending litigation.