Thursday, March 27, 2008
In Our Opinion...
Bring On The Videotapes
We believe far too many questions remain unanswered in the tragic shooting death of Mount Vernon Police Officer Christopher Ridley, fully two months after he was killed in a fusillade of police bullets. We are neither questioning the motives, nor condemning the actions, of the four Westchester County Police Of-ficers We are told were involved. Each of them already carries the heavy burden of having been thrust into a nightmare every police officer dreads.
We take no comfort, however, in the fact that the investigation and presentation of information to a grand jury was conducted by the Westchester District Attorney’s Office. The silence of DA DiFiore, immediately following the incident, coupled with her firm pronouncements following the grand jury’s failure to find fault, do not satisfy the People’s right to know. Clearly, the conduct of the investigation has displeased Officer Ridley’s family and friends as well as police officers throughout Westchester, particularly the Mount Vernon Police Department, whose members continue to grieve their loss. The National Black Police Association, Westchester
Chapter, had indicated that they would have preferred a federal investigation, and so did We.
Given the sorry history of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office with respect to the handling of cases involving police officers in fatal incidents, it is no wonder that many in law enforcement, as well as knowledgeable civilians, are displeased with the secrecy and selective leaks that have been associated with the Ridley Investigation. Numerous conflicting accounts, some of which placed Officer Ridley’s service
weapon in the hands of perpetrator Anthony Jacobs, perhaps five seconds before the hero officer was cut down in a hail of bullets, have raised too many unanswered questions.
Those who are all too familiar with the Westchester District Attorney’s Office’s ability to indict a ham sandwich, or fail to indict, or even charge, clearly guilty individuals, as in the death of Rob Viscome, are not inclined to accept their pronouncements at face. There is no question that a clear conflict of interest was inherent in any investigation and prosecution by this District Attorney’s Office in the shooting
by four County Police Officers of an off-duty Mount Vernon Police Officer on the street in White Plains.
In light of the attempted subornation of perjury by ADA Egenhauser against Harrison Police Officer Ralph Tancredi in an effort to assist Police Chief Hall’s and Captain Marriccini’s retaliatory false charges; the total failure to follow up numerous complaints of Yonkers police brutality; the thrusting of all responsibility for the death of Renee Perez on the shoulders of then-Mount Kisco Police Officer George Bubaris; the pressure and coercion brought to bear by ADA Patricia Murphy, through the Dobbs Ferry Police Department, on the eyewitnesses in the Richard DiGuglielmo self-defense shooting of Charles Campbell, to gratify Jeanine Pirro’s self-serving version of
events; and the false case brought by ADA Robert Neary that sent innocent New Rochelle Police Officer Matthew McKerrick to prison, why should any reasonable observer accept the DA’s handling of the Ridley Investigation?
We are therefore calling upon District Attorney Janet DiFiore to clear up all doubts and questions by releasing to the public the videotapes from however many surveillance cameras that captured the events on Court Street, just prior to 5pm on January 25, that cost Mount Vernon Police Officer Christopher Ridley his young life. Not too long ago, another young police officer, New York City Police Officer,
Eric Hernandez, of White Plains, was shot, and ultimately died, of wounds inflicted by a fellow officer responsding to a call about a “man with a gun” outside the White Castle restaurant on Fordham Road in the Bronx. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson had no problem releasing a cellphone video of the tragic incident. We believe DA DiFiore would do well to follow his example.
Our Readers Repsond...
Senator Stewart-Cousins Endorses The New Governor
Governor David Paterson is an executive who has the intelligence, talent, experience as both a legislator and executive not only to put forth
an aggressive bi-partisan agenda for the State of New York, but to get it accomplished as well. He is an incredibly gracious yet firm individual
whose brilliance and more than capable people skills will serve us all well during the budget process, and in the months and years to come.
He is a proponent of highly functioning public education, tax relief, health care and women’s health care rights. I am very happy to be able
to call him a friend, and also to have the opportunity to work with him in his new capacity.
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins,
New York State Senator, 35th District
Reader Appreciates Columnist Polvere
Thank you for publishing the recent article by Fred Polvere, “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition.” This is an issue which has troubled
me for a very long time, as it troubles many Americans. I see banners stating, “Torture is Wrong” and I wonder who in this country can
possibly think it’s right??? Polvere wrote an excellent piece, putting the issue into a wonderful historical context and pointing out how close we are to the mindset of the Spanish Inquisition (can you believe it???) I especially appreciated his emphasis that this country executed Japanese soldiers who had waterboarded American prisoners in WWII.
I commend this article to every American civics class for required reading -- as well as to every US Congressperson! Kudos to you, Mr.
Good News For A Change From The Yonkers Schools
Lincoln High School Academy of Finance seniors Maurine Koranteng and Neville Green created a prototype comprehensive business
plan, Especially Yours, a company to help low income individuals develop custom resumes at minimal cost, giving their clients a professional
edge in the job market. Their plan was so outstanding that Maurine and Neville are 2 of only 38 students in the world to be selected as 2008
Global Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, sponsored by The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).
Especially Yours focuses on Maurine and Neville’s hometown of Yonkers, offering professional résumé preparation services at affordable
prices. Their prototype business plan seeks to open the door to employment opportunities for low income individuals. A unique feature of the plan is that it incorporates a philanthropic goal: Ten percent of profits go to the Hudson Valley Make a Wish Foundation.
Maurine and Neville competed with students from high schools in Westchester County, New York City, and Fairfield County, Connecticut,
and received the only award for this region. In preparing their plan and competition entry, students worked under the advisement of Lincoln
High Academy of Finance Coordinator, Lauren Trager. Through entrepreneurship education, NFTE helps young people from low-income communities build skills and unlock their entrepreneurial creativity.
Maurine and Neville will be honored on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City where they will receive
their awards and showcase their business plans.
Ralph M. Farina