Thursday, April 23, 2009

Christopher Ridley Case/Janet Difiore.

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

Stanley Ridley, Father Of Slain Heroic
Police Officer Christopher Ridley, Declares,
“My Son Didn’t Have To Die That Way”


Last Tuesday morning, April 14th, a press conference was held at the site of the tragic shooting of Police Officer Christopher Ridley on January 25, 2008. The purpose of the press conference was to officially announce the filing of a $90 million federal lawsuit by Officer Ridley’s father,
Stanley Ridley, in United States District Court, White Plains.

The suit, which names Janet DiFiore, District Attorney of Westchester, individually and in her capacity as District Attorney, as well as the four County police officers directly involved in the shooting, together with their commissioner, Thomas Belfiore, Chief Medical Examiner Millard Hyland, and County Executive Andrew Spano, also names the County of Westchester, New York; nine Defendants in all, and seeks $10 million from each.

Stanley Ridley, the Plaintiff, is primarily motivated to uncover the truth, the whole truth, regarding what actually happened outside 85 Court Street, White Plains just minutes before 5pm on January 25, 2008. He knows, logically and instinctively, that much of what the district attorney
and her cohorts would have him, and the rest of us, believe is neither truthful nor believable; and, what’s more, that there are witnesses who insist that from their vantage point, much of what came out of the grand jury was a whitewash.

Mostly, Stanley Ridley wants to clear his son’s name, something he shouldn’t have to do except for Janet DiFiore’s demeaning fabrications that Officer Ridley would embark upon a mission to confront and apprehend a brutally violent perpetrator, Anthony Jacobs, who had just assaulted
and battered a middle-aged man, breaking both of the man’s wrists, but would carry out an arrest carrying only his service weapon, but leaving his badge, his universally-recognized symbol of police authority, behind in his car.

DiFiore would have Mr. Ridley, and all of us in Westchester with sense enough to tie our own shoelaces, believe that Christopher would first go running into the security entry area of the County Office Building seeking to enlist police assistance, with a gun in his belt, but no badge.

Witnesses very close to the action are saying it didn’t happen that way. They’re saying he was holding a badge in his right hand and his service weapon in his left hand, arms fully extended from his sides, facing three of the four County police officers standing no more than 10 feet from him when they opened fire, though his gun wasn’t pointed at any of them. Those witnesses are saying that he then dropped his badge and his gun on the sidewalk, and was going down to his knees when a fourth officer, who had taken cover behind a tree at the curb, came out and placed his gun, at point-blank range, and shot Officer Ridley in the head above his left eyebrow.

Witnesses also report seeing the entry wound with powder burns around it as Christopher Ridley’s body lay on the sidewalk, uncovered for some time; and, that the badge which lay on the sidewalk near him was quickly removed, even before White Plains police arrived on the scene.When Plaintiff Stanley Ridley went to the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office to identify his son’s mortal remains, he was shown Christopher’s body with his head wrapped in white bandaging from his eyebrows up.

He told reporters, “We want the truth, we want the tapes, and I want all the people involved in this brought to justice. My son didn’t have to die that way.” Responding to questions from a large contingent of newspaper and broadcast reporters, attorney Jonathan Lovett declared, “I have plenty of witnesses, but now we will have a tidal wave.” He cited District Attorney Janet DiFiore’s “repeated refusal to release the unredacted video
tapes.” Asked why the grand jury found the killing was an accident, Lovett responded, “Grand juries do what they are asked to do by the DA.”

Damon Jones, a Westchester Corrections Officer and President of the Westchester Chapter of the National Black Police Association, told reporters, “The Westchester County justice system needs an enema because it’s full of crap!” He went on to say that there were “lots of witnesses who came forward to the Mount Vernon police,” but that they were all directed to White Plains.

Jones expressed his opinion with regard to the DA’s investigation saying, “This case is a poster child for the need for a special prosecutor.”

There were no fewer than four surveillance cameras mounted on the County Office Building, and elsewhere, that took videotapes of the tragic events leading up to the killing of heroic police officer Christopher Ridley, and the shooting itself. The fact that District Attorney Janet
DiFiore has repeatedly refused to show the public the unredacted, untampered-with tapes for more than 15 months now, speaks volumes about the integrity of her investigation and the product of her grand jury.

This is the same district attorney, after all, who covered up the violence of Yonkers Police Officer Wayne Simoes, the rogue cop who bodyslammed Irma Marquez without justification; the same district attorney who then proceeded to prosecute Ms. Marquez on totally fictitious charges even after viewing the horrific videotape of Simoes’ unprovoked attack. Likewise, this is the same district attorney who prosecuted Rui Florim, who was brutalized by six off-duty Yonkers cops, and who prosecuted numerous other victims of Yonkers police brutality, including Dr. Sherry Bobrowsky.

Janet DiFiore is the same district attorney who, upon entering office, kept concealed, for 16 months, until compelled by the federal courts, to turn over 376 pages, 52 boxes, and miles of audio tape, all of which indicate Anthony DiSimone’s innocence in the stabbing death of Louis Balancio,
in Yonkers, 15 years ago, including a confession by the actual murderer, Nick Djonovic. How can Stanley Ridley, or any intelligent and reasonable
individual, trust anything as crucial as the investigation of the killing of their only child to such an individual?

Nevertheless, before and after the press conference, The Journal News made their bias very clear. On Tuesday, the day of the press conference,
Phil Reisman, who always drank the kool aid for Jeanine Pirro, willingly did the same for Janet DiFiore. For him, the Ridley tragedy and the failure of the DA’s Office to come clean, was merely about an effort to “take down the DA.”

The simple fact is DA DiFiore has refused to reveal the unredacted, unaltered videotapes taken by several surveillance cameras of the tragic incident. If those original images supported her version of the killing, she would have shown them to the public 15 months ago, would have
released the medical examiner’s report, and turned over articles of Christopher Ridley’s clothing to his family immediately.

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